ROANOKE, Va. -

The American Red Cross asks blood and platelet donors to help prevent a summer shortage by making an appointment to roll up a sleeve around the Independence Day holiday.

With blood and platelet donation appointments currently lower than what is needed to maintain a sufficient blood supply, donors of all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment now, especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative.

The Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients across the country. This can be challenging during the summer months of June, July and August, when an average of two fewer donors schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need. This seasonal challenge can be overcome if just two more donors – above what is expected – make an appointment and give blood at each Red Cross blood drive the rest of the summer.

To encourage more people to make time to donate blood before and after Independence Day, all presenting blood and platelet donors from June 30 through July 7 will receive a commemorative Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Click here or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to find a nearby blood donation opportunity or schedule an appointment.

To make an appointment to donate platelets, please call 1-866-353-1030.