GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Right now, the American Red Cross is facing a large shortage of the blood types most needed by patients, and they're asking eligible donors for help. The process of donating blood is nothing new for many.
"I'm already registered with them so they gave me a call," Ralph Speed said.
"They usually call me or I get an email about it," Ashley Bertram said.
Besides winter months, the summer time can be one of the most challenging times of the year to collect blood and platelets. And unlike school, the need for blood doesn't take a summer break. The urgent need for eligible donors with O negative, B negative and A negative blood, had Speed come to help, and he says giving blood is a way to remind him of the need.
"I've had family members who have needed it, and as O- I know that I'm a universal donor. Anybody can take mine," Speed said,
As for Ashley Bertram, she says anyway she can help she will because she would want the same help in return, if she needed it.
"I haven't had a need of it for myself but if I'm ever in the situation where I would need blood I would hope there would be enough for me to have it," she said.
Those donating say if they can help save a life in less than 30 minutes they're game, and they challenge you to do the same.
"Like I said, it's a very short part of my day. It doesn't take a long time and it doesn't hurt. It's painless, really. And if you're able to because you're not sick or other issues that would disqualify you, it's such a short period of time of your day and it's just a good thing to do," Bertram said.
"Just remember one day, you may need it, too," Speed said.
Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting the Red Cross website at redcross.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS.