World Blood Donor Day begins as local blood banks experience shortages

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Local blood banks are experiencing shortages due to a summer-time lull in donations.

The American Red Cross and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers are both experiencing shortages.

Elizabeth Peelen, with the Red Cross, said high school and college students make up about 25 percent of their donor population.

"We just don't have the population that we typically do during the school year," Peelen said. "And of course businesses and corporate people are traveling and they're not necessarily thinking about donating blood as much as going to the beach or their summer vacation."

A LifeSouth spokeswoman told CBS 42 the organization is experiencing an emergency and needs all blood types, especially O. 

The Red Cross started the Missing Types campaign to get more donors to roll up their sleeves. The campaign asks blood drive partners to have extra drives and omit the letters "a," "o" and "b" from their advertisements, signage and social media in order to call attention to the need for "A, "O" and "B" blood donations. 

Donating just one pint of blood can help save three lives. An estimated 38,000 pints of blood are needed daily in the U.S.

According to Peelen, to donate blood you need a valid photo ID, or driver license, and you must be at least 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and feel healthy.

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