UNION COUNTY, NJ -- The American Red Cross is counting on volunteer donors to give blood and help ensure patient needs can be met this summer.
 
Around Memorial Day, the Red Cross sees a steep decline in blood donations. Busy summer schedules, vacations and school breaks also cause a drop in donations. Accidents and medical emergencies don’t take a summer break – patients need blood every minute, every day.
 
In the summer of 1973, Ramona Johnson was playing at the park when she was injured jumping off the swings. She was bleeding profusely from a 7-inch gash in her leg. By the time she reached the hospital, she needed an emergency transfusion. She credits the donors who took the time to give blood with helping to save her life.
 
 
Johnson’s childhood experience receiving blood compelled her to make her first blood donation more than 10 years ago. “A little voice told me that this would be a great way to give back,” she said. “I have been faithfully donating every eight weeks since.”
 
The public is asked to schedule an appointment to help ensure that hospitals and patients have the blood they need this summer. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
 
In thanks, all those who come to donate blood or platelets now through June 10, 2018, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.) Additionally, those who come to give May 25-29, will receive an exclusive Red Cross branded T-shirt, while supplies last. 
 
Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Union County May 22 to June 15 are:
 
Berkeley Heights
6/1/2018: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Summit Medical Group, 1 Diamond Hill Road
 
6/5/2018: 4 p.m. - 9 p.m., Cedarbrook K-8 Center, 1049 Central Ave.
 
6/5/2018: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Temple Emanu-El, 756 E. Broad St.