Red Cross calls for blood donations during ‘critical’ shortage

CLEVELAND-- The American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood or platelets as soon as possible.

The Red Cross said it's experiencing a critical blood shortage. Over the past two months, donations have been down and the organization is 61,000 short of what is needed.

"The decline in summer donations is causing a significant draw-down of our overall blood supply, and we urgently need people to give now to restock hospital shelves and help save lives," said Shaun Gilmore, president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. "Every day, patients recovering from accidents or those receiving treatments for cancer or blood disorders rely on lifesaving blood products regardless of the season."

According to the Red Cross, there are fewer donations drives around the Fourth of July, which compounds the problem.

If you are interested in donating, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS. To speed up the process, fill out a form here.

Those 17 or older, weighing at least 110 pounds and in good health are eligible to donate. Donors under the age of 18 will have to meet height and weight criteria.