Two ways to save a life as summer kicks off

Summer means blood shortages. Join with the American Red Cross, the Birmingham Barons and UAB to boost the blood supply.

BloodDriveJoomlaBlood shortages are common in summer. The American Red Cross currently has a critical shortage of type O blood. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is working with the Red Cross to help boost blood donation at this important time of year.

Three blood drives are scheduled in June. On June 11, the Red Cross and the Birmingham Barons will hold a drive at Regions Field. Then June 19, UAB Hospital will host drives at the North Pavilion and Highlands Hospital.

The Regions Field drive runs from 1-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, in the Regions Field banquet room, 1400 First Ave. South, Birmingham. Presenting donors will receive two tickets to a Barons game and a commemorative T-shirt, while supplies last. Hot dogs, chips and drinks will also be available.

UAB’s drives Wednesday, June 19, run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the North Pavilion Atrium, corner of 18th Street and Sixth Avenue South, and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Highlands Hospital, 1201 11th Ave. South. Donors will receive free movie passes to AMC theaters.

Currently, type O blood is being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. Type O donors — and donors of all types — are urged to give now to help ensure blood is on the shelves for patients when every second matters.

Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact. During this type of donation, red blood cells are separated from other blood components, and the plasma and platelets are safely and comfortably returned to the donor.

How to donate blood

For more information and to make an appointment to donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit sponsor code: BARONS or call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767). Sponsor codes for the UAB drives are UABNP and UABHIGHLANDS.

Donors of all blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

UAB is one of the largest users nationally of blood supplied by the Red Cross. Donors can give blood up to six times a year, every eight weeks. The process takes about 45 minutes; the actual blood collection usually takes less than 20 minutes.