American Red Cross urges blood donations amid nationwide shortage

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Posted at 3:30 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 16:20:33-04

Ben Tonsberg has type O negative blood which makes him a universal blood donor. His blood can be used in transfusions for any blood type.

He says he makes it a priority to donate blood as much a he can.

“It doesn’t really hurt when they needle goes in. There’s a little bit of a pinch but it’s not too bad. You just sit here and hang out for a little bit,” he explained.

Type O negative blood is unique, but American Red Cross says every blood type is important, especially during the summer.

“Individuals and families are taking vacations or they have a hectic summer schedule with many different family activities, things like that. So the time available to them is sometimes a little bit diminished versus other times of the year,” explained Christopher Dumschat with American Red Cross Virginia Region.

Summertime tends to be one of the slowest times for blood donations which is why American Red Cross is asking people in good health to roll up their sleeve and make a life-saving donation during a national Blood shortage.

“A lot of that is because of the increase in trauma cases that hospitals are seeing and it's also because you know some of the elective surgeries are being put back on schedule,” said Dumschat.

American Red Cross is also urging more African Americans to donate blood.

Black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, but less than 3% of blood donors according to the red cross.

Blood donors who are Black play a critical role in helping people with sickle cell disease, the most common genetic blood disease in the U.S., according to American Red Cross.

“We, as the Red Cross and as an organization that provides more than 40% of the nation's blood supply, want to make sure we can always answer the call and deliver these life-saving blood products.

For the month of August, Dunkin’ is making it even sweeter to donate by providing 26,000 vouchers for a free iced coffee and donuts to Virginia donors to support summer blood collection.

There are three ways to sign up to donate. People can call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit or download the Blood Donor app.