WICHITA — Following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces a blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.

About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel.

This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available — and less than a two-day supply of type O blood — for patients.

At least a five-day supply is desired.

“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services.

“Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products," Numark said. "To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments, please join us today.

All donors needed now

In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors – especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years – to give blood during the challenging summer months. Through the campaign, the letters A, B and O – letters that make up the main blood groups – disappeared from popular brands to symbolize what happens when blood goes missing from hospital shelves during blood shortages.

Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed, and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.

“Blood is only available when generous blood donors roll up a sleeve to give, and right now, all donors – especially those give have never given or haven’t given in a while – are urged to make an appointment to give today,” Numark added.

How to help

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.orgor by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities July 11-31

- Hays Blood Donation Center, 208 E. 8th, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Fridays: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

- Hays

July 11: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Comeau Campus Center, 506 W. 6th, Comeau Campus Center;

July 16: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., HaysMed, 2200 Canterbury

July 22: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Farm Bureau Financial Services, 2809 Hall

July 23: Noon-6 p.m., St. Nicholas of Myra, 2901 E. 13th

July 31: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Ellis County Administrative Center, 718 Main

July 31: Noon-6 p.m., First United Methodist Church of Hays, 305 W 7th

- Victoria, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 22, VFW, 204 E Main

- Ellis, 1-6 p.m. July 30, Knights of Columbus, 1013 Washington

- Jennings, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. July 26, United Methodist Church, 202 S Topeka

- Oberlin, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. July 17, Golden Age, 217 N Penn

- Grainfield, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. July 11, Opera House, 296 Main

- Quinter, Noon-5:30 p.m. July 25, Church of the Brethren, 700 Grant

- Hill City, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. July 10, Graham County Hospital, 304 N. Prout

- Norton, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July 16, Norton Correctional Facility, E Hwy 36 and Hwy 67; and 12 p.m.-6 p.m. July 17, Norton County 4-H Building, 126 East Park

- Natoma, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. July 25, Natoma Community Center, 709 N 2nd

- Logan, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. July 17, Logan Community City Building, 109 N. Mill

- Phillipsburg, Noon-6 p.m. July 11, Huck Boyd Community Center, 860 Park

- Plainville, 11:30 a.m -5:30 p.m. July 18, Knights of Columbus, 204 N. Irving

- Gorham, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 29, Gorham Community City Building, 125 Market

- Russell, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July 15, Otterbein United Methodist Church, 120 W. Wisconsin St.; and 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. July 18, Russell Regional Hospital, 200 S. Main

- Colby, Noon-6 p.m. July 23, Colby Community Building, 285 East 5th; and 7:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. July 24, Colby Community Building, 285 East 5th