MECOSTA COUNTY — The American Red Cross is facing a looming blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

Donations through the Red Cross are down approximately 8 percent over the last 11 weeks, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected. The number of donors continues to decline, and the shortfall is significant enough that the Red Cross could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks.

In addition, the Independence Day holiday falling on Friday reduced the number of blood drives scheduled in early July. Many sponsors did not host drives because people took vacations either over the long weekend or for the entire week.

“Hospital patients continue to need lifesaving blood this summer, and they’re relying on the generosity of volunteer donors to give them hope in the days and weeks ahead,” said Jim Flickema, CEO for the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region.

There is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so it’s important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand.

The summer can be among the most challenging times of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they take vacations and participate in summer activities. When school is out of session for summer break, donations from those who normally give on campus tend to drop by more than 80 percent.

Every day this summer is a chance to give hope to patients in need and their network of family and friends. July 13 marked the half-way point for the Red Cross campaign “100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.”

Here is a list of upcoming blood drives in Mecosta and Osceola counties:

  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30, at St Michael Parish Center, located at 8944 50th Ave. in Remus
  • From noon to 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, at Dighton Wesleyan Church, located at 19522 130th Ave. in Tustin
  • From noon to 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, at The Gate, located at 706 Perry Ave. in Big Rapids
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at Evart United Methodist Church, located at 619 Cherry St. in Evart