On June 11, 2019, the American Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to raise awareness for the unmet need for blood and encourage people to take action by rolling up a sleeve to help save lives by filling in the missing A, B and O blood types.
Between June 11 and June 30, the Red Cross and 26 iconic corporate and civic brands, as well as celebrities and influencers, will bring attention to the need for more blood donors nationwide. Only 3% of people in the U.S. give blood. Partners are engaging in a variety of ways from dropping the letters A, B and O from their logos, signage, websites and other public facing platforms to hosting critical blood drives this summer.
“Every day kids battling cancer, accident victims being raced into the ER, and new moms facing complicated childbirths need lifesaving blood transfusions,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross. “However, only 3 out of 100 people give blood in the U.S. This is simply not enough. The Missing Types campaign allows us to take a non-traditional approach and inspire individuals to roll up a sleeve to ensure blood types A, B and O do not go missing from hospital shelves for patients that dearly need them.”
Results from a 2019 survey conducted on behalf of the Red Cross showed troubling disconnects between the public’s perception of blood donations and the realities of patient transfusion needs.
According to a 2019 survey conducted on behalf of the Red Cross, clothes (69%), money (63%) and food (53%) are the primary ways that the public has donated to help others in the past year.* Only three percent of people in the U.S. give blood.
A third (33%) of the public has never considered that blood may not be available when a loved one needs it.* Just last month, the Red Cross had only six units of type O blood available for every 100,000 people, but more than twice that is needed every day.
Blood transfusion is one of the most common hospital procedures in the U.S. Yet,“Never really thought about it” was cited in a just released 2019 Red Cross survey as the primary reason, (26%) that people do not give blood among those who haven’t given recently.*
Troy Stemen received his first blood transfusion only hours after learning he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 16. In the course of a day, his whole world was turned upside down when he learned his persistent aches and random bruises were caused by cancer.
Throughout his cancer treatments Troy relied heavily on blood and platelet transfusions to stay healthy enough to endure the rigorous treatments his doctors scheduled. There were several times when blood and platelets were not available, and he waited hours in fear to feel better.
“My mom and I were pretty concerned that I wasn’t going to get the platelets in time,” said Troy. “I became pretty afraid and scared that I might not get better.”
Today, Troy is cancer free and enjoys spending time with friends, playing sports and learning to drive. His mother Veronica Stemen has a message for all blood and platelet donors, “I just want to say thank you so much for helping my son, Troy, get better, giving him strength, giving him life. It means the world to me.”
The Red Cross appreciates the support of its lead partners who have joined the #MissingTypes campaign, including: Ace Hardware, Adobe, Amazon, AVANGRID, Boise Paper, CarMax, The Clorox Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Domino’s, Facebook, Google, Herbalife Nutrition, IBM®, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Mall of America®, Nationwide®, OnStar, Oreo, PayPal, Salesforce, State Farm®, Suburban Propane, Sunoco, U.S. Bank, Zaxby’s Franchising LLC and Zebra Technologies Corporation.
Blood drives are essential in helping to fill the missing As, Bs, and Os this summer and throughout the year. In fact, fewer blood donors and blood drives during the summer months make it one of the most challenging times of the year for blood and platelet donations. Stepping up to this challenge, our lead partners for the Missing Types campaign are holding 275 blood drives this summer that will help collect approximately 8,850 units for patients in need.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
Supplemental Information about Survey Methodology
*These are the findings from a poll conducted Feb. 22-27, 2019 on behalf of the Red Cross. For the survey, a sample of 1,000 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online, in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±3.5 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.
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