BIG FLATS, N.Y. - A, B, and O are more than just letters in the alphabet. They're also blood types, and when they'e missing, it makes a big difference.
The American Red Cross launched the "Missing Types" campaign yesterday in an effort to promote their new blood drive this summer.
"Most people think we need blood every 5 minutes, every 10 minutes, every half hour. Actually we need blood every 2 seconds," Sheila Sullivan, Red Cross account representative for Steuben and Schuyler counties said.
The Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes chapters are both participating in this international campaign that spans 18 countries.
Businesses and organizations are partnering with the Red Cross to remove the letters A, B, and O from their logos and signage to demonstrate just how integral these blood types are.
"By having them missing, we want people to know what it would be like if they really weren't on the shelves because we're having trouble keeping them up on the shelves," Sullivan said.
The Red Cross is losing 80,000 new donors every year. Sullivan chalks it up to increasingly busy lifestyles.
"A lot of people say it's because they were never asked, so we want to make this our personal ask. We are asking everybody - if you haven't thought about it before, think about it now," Sullivan said.
The summer is especially difficult for the Red Cross as 20% of their blood supply comes from high school and college drives
The Red Cross hopes to encourage 370,000 new donors in the U.S. this summer. Today, I helped them get one person to their goal.
So did Mary Churchill, who has been a donor since 1979 and has given about 10 gallons in her lifetime.
"It gives you a good feeling to give...the rapid pass option that they have saves you a lot of time, and with the blood donor app you even find out where your pint went," Churchill said.
"At least 1 out of 4 individuals is going to need blood in their lifetime. Less than 4% of the population give all of the blood we have. So there's 96% of the eligible population that hasn't thought about it. If everybody who could give blood just gave blood once a year, we would never have a blood shortage," Sullivan said.
The drive will be going on all summer, but the businesses will put the letters A, B, and O back in their logos starting on July 3.
To find out when the next blood drive is being held nearest you, call 1-800 Red Cross or go to the RedCross.org and type in your zip code.
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