LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - WAVE Country is in the middle of summer fun and celebrations. But what many people may not know, is this is also one of the times of greatest need for The Red Cross.
They are appealing to the public with their Missing Types campaign. For those who have not given blood lately, then the "you are the #missingtype," their website reads.
Many businesses in WAVE Country, along with the homepage of the American Red Cross website, has the letters A, B and O -- representing the blood types -- deleted to draw awareness to the desperate need for people to donate blood.
The idea behind the innovative Missing Types campaign is that people might not realize how vital certain letters are until they're gone. A, B and O are common blood types, and when not enough people donate, As, Bs and Os may be missing from hospital shelves.
Lisa Norris has been working in Blood Services for over 20 years.
"There's no synthetic way to do blood," Norris proclaimed in a serious tone. "It has to come from a donor."
Those who can give must give to save lives. Norris found that out first hand.
Even though she had been working in blood services for two decades, she fully understood the true meaning of donating blood when her granddaughter was in need.
"My granddaughter was born and needed nine units," she softly explained. "Never ever would I have dreamt in a 100 years -- and I've been, like I said, working with blood centers for 20 years -- that somebody I loved would need blood."
About 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, yet less than four percent do.
The Red Cross continuously relies on the generosity of volunteer blood donors to help patients in need: cancer patients, trauma victims, heart and other surgery patients, newborn babies and birthing mothers.
"The need for blood is constant and our donor pool is shrinking," Emily Beck, of the American Red Cross, explained. "We are trying to get the word out to recruit new donors."
There may be fewer donors, but the need is certainly not dwindling.
There simply aren't enough new blood donors being added to the ranks to help those in need. Engagement from new blood donors has declined steadily for most of the past decade.
"Every 2-3 seconds somebody in the United States needs blood," Beck said with urgency.
Very few people think about blood until they are at the hospital in an emergency and learn the only thing that can save their child, husband, or maybe even themselves from death, is a transfusion of blood.
Sandy Osborne saw the blood mobile as she made her way into WAVE 3 News. As an employee of the news station, she was aware of the plea for the community to donate. She was also aware of just how important it was caring for her father, whose life was saved on numerous occasions due to blood transfusions.
"My dad had to have a lot of blood transfusions years ago before he passed away, and I started giving blood after that," Osborne shared.
After Osborne's father died, her blood donations slowed down until she was no longer giving at all. She realized seeing the Red Cross Blood Mobile her blood type was missing and families in need were missing her help.
"When my dad was sick I knew how important it was," she said as she rolled up her sleeve. "I'm just trying to give back to what they gave to him."
To find a nearby blood drive, or organize one in any WAVE Country community, go to the Red Cross website or call 1-800-RED CROSS.