The Red Cross Just Made a Critical Announcement

Updated: Jan. 08, 2024

An expert doctor calls it "one of the most distressing situations for a doctor." Here's important data on how desperate the need is right now.

Blood banks, such as those operated by the American Red Cross, often come to mind only when you or a loved one require their services. However, the astonishing reality is that someone requires a life-saving transfusion every two seconds. This equates to a daily demand for 42,000 units of blood and related products, including red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, according to America’s Blood Centers.

This week, the American Red Cross, the largest blood supplier in the country, has issued an urgent plea for individuals to increase their blood donations as national reserves have been hit.

Startlingly, the number of donors has reached an all-time low, with the agency reporting a 40% decrease in blood donations compared to 20 years ago. The Red Cross states there were 7,000 fewer unit donations between Christmas and New Year’s Day, leading to a dire situation where the Red Cross had to limit the distribution of certain products to hospitals.

Pampee Young, MD, PhD, the chief medical officer of the Red Cross, expressed, “One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty refrigerator without any blood products.”

The Red Cross attributes the current decline in donations to peaks in COVID-19 rates, the flu, and other respiratory illnesses. Weather-related difficulties, such as storms, have also hindered people from reaching donation centers. Overall, the reduced presence of people in offices due to a shift to remote work has impacted some donation sites.

If the prospect of saving a life (or several, as the average number of lives saved per donation is three) isn’t motivation enough to roll up your sleeve and donate, how about the chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas? During January, which is National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross has teamed up with the National Football League (NFL) to offer this exciting opportunity to each donor, which includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, and $1,000 in spending money. 

To locate a donation center or blood drive near you, you can download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, or call 1-800-RED CROSS. To give blood through other organizations, visit the website for the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies at

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Eligibility for donating blood 

The Red Cross offers a few different types of blood and blood product donations, depending on your blood type, eligibility, time, and location. Be sure to check out the website for full details. In general, if you’d like to donate blood you need to meet a few requirements:

  • You will need a blood donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification.
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • You must be of the age of consent in your state; for most states, this is 17 years old, though in some, 16 is acceptable with parental consent.
  • You must be free from any infectious diseases, such as a cold, flu, or COVID-19, at the time of donation. If you have questions regarding a specific condition, please consult the full list provided here.