When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B and O blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted.

TULSA — As part of an international movement, the American Red Cross is launching the Missing Types campaign to recruit new blood donors – and those who have not given recently – to ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients.

During the Missing Types campaign, the letters A, B and O – the main blood groups – will disappear from brands, social media pages, signs and websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays. When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B and O blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted.

“Unfortunately, blood shortages still happen and the number of new Red Cross blood donors is shrinking each year,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “That’s why the Red Cross is asking those who have never donated blood and those who haven’t given in a while to make a lifesaving donation. You are the missing type patients need.”

Survey reveals public misconceptions

A recent survey, conducted on behalf of the Red Cross, revealed a troubling disconnect between the public’s perception of blood donations and the realities of patient transfusion needs.

Three-quarters (74 percent) of the public underestimate how frequently blood transfusions occur.* Most people perceive blood is needed in the U.S. every 15 minutes or even every hour or two hours when in fact, every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood. Nearly half of the public (45 percent) know someone who has been helped by a blood transfusion.* Yet only three percent of the U.S. population donates each year. More than one-third (35 percent) of the public has never considered that blood may not be available when they or a loved one need it.* Blood shortages are not uncommon in the United States and can only be prevented when more people roll up a sleeve to give. More than half (53 percent) of the public believe they need to know their blood type to donate.* Good news – Potential blood donors do not need to know their blood type before giving blood. After individuals give blood, the Red Cross provides each donor their blood type. By joining the #MissingType movement, donors can find out their blood type this summer.

Each day, blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those who are receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. But for the past four years, new Red Cross donors have declined by about 80,000 each year. This is not just a Red Cross trend, but a challenge blood collection organizations face across the country and around the world.

Donating blood is a simple process and only takes about an hour from start to finish.

Regional donation opportunities

Vinita, 6/12/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 314 West Canadian Avenue Grove, 6/14/2018: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., GardenWalk of Grove, 465 Mill Creek Drive Chouteau, 6/12/2018: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Chouteau Community Church, 28 E. 12th St. Pryor, 6/21/2018: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 400 E. Graham Miami, 6/13/2018: 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Newell Coach, 3900 N. Main Miami, 6/14/2018: 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 200 B St. NW Miami, 6/21/2018: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., First National Bank, 2 N. Main

*These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted April 16 - 18, 2018 on behalf of the Red Cross. For the survey, a sample of 503 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±5.0 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.