The American Red Cross kicked off its Missing Types blood donation campaign Tuesday, encouraging local businesses to host blood drives and alter their logos for the rest of the month.
The campaign asks what life would be like without the letters A, B and O, the main blood groups. Brands are dropping the letters from their logos for the month — including the Findlay Automotive Group that hosted the campaign kick-off at its Henderson Honda dealership.
“If you remove those letters, which are blood donations, from hospital shelves, our community would look a lot different,” said Alan Diskin, executive director of the southern Nevada branch of the Red Cross.
Hospitals in Nevada generally have only about a two-day supply of blood on hand, Diskin said, but they should ideally have at least a five-day supply.
When it comes to O-negative blood, which can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type, the supplies are even lower, he said.
At the event, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft declared June 11 Missing Types day in Clark County. Most Las Vegas will remember when, in the aftermath of the Oct. 1 mass shooting, people lined up across the valley to fill the need for blood at local hospitals, he said.
“But it’s not just during tragic events,” Naft said. “It is every day.”
Diskin announced the results of a Red Cross survey that found that only 3 percent of Americans have donated blood before. A vast majority of donations to the Red Cross are clothing, food and money, he said.
“The thing is, it doesn’t last forever,” Diskin said, “so we literally have to collect blood every day.”
About 54 percent of Americans believe that they need to know their blood type to donate, but that’s a myth. As part of the donation process, the Red Cross processes donors’ blood and types it before distributing the blood to hospitals.
Findlay Honda hosted a blood drive Tuesday to kick off the campaign. Tyler Corder, Findlay chief financial officer, said the company has hosted 19 blood drives so far this year and is on track to donate 420 units of blood in 2019.
The need for blood became personal years ago when Corder’s brother, Floyd, had to postpone open-heart surgery for a week because his hospital didn’t have enough blood available, Corder said.
Clark Dumont, of Dumont Communications, said during Tuesday’s event that he had always been a blood donor but never expected to receive blood himself. That was before he developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, and required multiple transfusions.
Dumont, who has O-negative blood, said he’s donated about 59 pints of blood over the past decade. He introduced two young girls, Gia Glossa and Layla O’Bryant, who need frequent transfusions to survive.
“The people who need blood, it’s our moms and dads,” Diskin said. “It’s our brothers and our sisters, our friends, neighbors and coworkers. You never know when you’re going to need blood.”
The campaign runs through June 30, but the Red Cross accepts donations year-round. Visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment to donate blood.