Red Cross asks public to donate blood due to summer shortage

SAN DIEGO – The American Red Cross Monday announced a national shortage of blood and platelets, and publicized a series of donation opportunities in San Diego County over the next several weeks.

Donations around the U.S. in the first two weeks of September were down more than 10,000 from what is needed to replenish the blood supply and be prepared for emergencies, according to the Red Cross.

“September is National Preparedness Month and we urge eligible donors to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director of Red Cross Blood Services.

“Whether blood is needed for a chronic condition like sickle cell disease, a routine surgery, a traumatic accident or a large-scale disaster, it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives,” Gehrig said. “Red Cross blood and platelet donors play an important role in helping communities be prepared for all kinds of emergencies.”

The donation shortfall follows a significant summer blood supply shortage, according to the Red Cross.

Locally, the San Diego Blood Bank reported that while it could always use more donations, its situation is not dire — though the organization would like to have more platelets, which help control bleeding.

Donation locations this week include:

— Monday until 7 p.m. at the El Cajon Heartland Masonic, 695 Ballantyne St.;

— Monday until 7 p.m. at the Kearny Mesa Blood Donation Center, 4229 Ponderosa Ave.;

— Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Fallbrook Library, 124 South Mission Road;

— Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., San Diego Police Department, 1401 Broadway;

— Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., San Diego State University, Aztec Walk, 5500 Campanile Drive;

— Thursday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Oceanside Masonic Center, 511 Eucalyptus St.; and

— Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., VA Healthcare Building 27, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive.

A blood drive is also scheduled for Tuesday through Friday at Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission Road in San Marcos.