The American Red Cross is asking eligible blood and platelet donors to step up and donate now before they go on vacation to avoid a summer shortage.
A survey of regular blood and platelet donors found that more than 40% plan to travel in the weeks before or after the Fourth of July .
Red Cross officials said that in addition, fewer blood drives are scheduled during those weeks because hosting organizations wish to avoid holding events while people are on vacation.
Blood donors are urged to make appointments this week to help forestall a shortage.
"Adding blood or platelet donation to a vacation to-do list can mean so much to patients and their families," said Sara O'Brien,
communications manager for the Northern California blood services region. "It's a simple act, taking as little as an hour, but can touch many lives."
Those who donate between July 2-6 will receive an embroidered Red Cross baseball cap, while supplies last.
All blood types are needed, but O negative, A negative and B negative and platelet donors are especially urgently needed, O'Brien said.
For information on how to donate, call 1 (800) RED-CROSS or go to redcrossblood.org/