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Red Cross has significant need for Type O negative donors

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 15:27:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. – In 1995, Carla Randecker woke up from surgery to find a bag attached to her IV. She had been hit by a semi-truck that failed to halt at a stop sign. Randecker suffered a broken neck and femur.

Because of donors, the Red Cross was able to help save her.

“I’m O negative, a rarity,” said Randecker. “All I remember was, wow, someone gave their blood for me. I made a promise that day to do the same. When I was well enough, I’d return the favor.”

The American Red Cross said they have a significant need for type O negative blood donors to donate blood for patients.

While less than 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, hospitals depend on frequent O negative donations to ensure it’s always available for patients in need.

Eligible donors with type O negative blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or double red cell donation, where available, through the Red Cross. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor, according to the Red Cross.

Randecker became a regular blood donor and gave for many years. This past year, her family fulfilled her wish to give blood together. Five of the family members who gave were type O negative, and since then, donating blood has become a family tradition.

“If I teach them nothing else, it’s that they should always, always, do for others,” said Randecker.

“Type O negative donors are an important part of the Red Cross trauma team,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services.  “While all blood types are needed, type O negative donations are necessary in emergency situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type.”

Blood donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

Those who come to donate now through May 15, 2016, will be entered to win four single-day tickets to any of 10 Cedar Fair theme parks in the U.S. For a full list of participating parks, visit redcross.cedarfair.com.