The American Red Cross is launching a new campaign to attract new blood donors and encourage old ones to roll up their sleeves.
The campaign, titled "Missing Types," draws attention to the missing blood types on hospital shelves by removing the letters A, B and O from brands, social media and website references.
The Red Cross positioned the launch at the beginning of summer in response to lower donation numbers, which they experience every summer when high school and college students go on break.
According to donor recruitment director Mary Pucel, the Red Cross has seen "new blood donors decrease by 80,000 a year for the last four years." She said that there is a gap opening up between an older, post-WWII generation, which is less able to give blood, and a newer generation, which simply does not have enough time to donate.
Additionally, a survey published by the Red Cross highlights misconceptions that hamper efforts to supply enough blood to hospitals and clinics that need it. According to the survey, about 45 percent of people know someone who's been impacted by a blood transfusion, but only 3 percent of the U.S. population actually donates.
"74 percent of [survey participants] underestimate the frequency at which blood transfusion occurs. People think ... that blood transfusion occurs every 15 minutes, every one hour ... but in fact every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. That's how often people have to donate to give that blood for other people," Pucel said.