American Red Cross offering $20 gift cards for blood donations to alleviate critically low supply

DALLAS - The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years.

Blood donations are needed now to help alleviate the shortage and ensure lifesaving medical procedures are not delayed.

The blood shortage situation has gotten so dire that the American Red Cross is offering $20 Amazon gift cards to help encourage people to donate blood.

The organization is asking for help after it says recent winter weather has hurt efforts to save lives. More than 500 blood drives were canceled nationwide in January, including North Texas, due to winter storms.

Crystal Dawn Tucker has three sons with sickle cell disease. She knows more than most about the importance of giving blood.

FOX 4 first spoke to Tucker and her kids during a blood drive held in Fort Worth last month. Her 11-year-old son, Nicholas, is currently at Cook Children’s getting evaluated. She spoke to us from her car.

"I'm still waiting. Waiting on the blood results now for my son to see if we're going to need a blood transfusion today," she said.

Tucker's situation highlights the importance of blood donations.

Donations have been steadily falling across the U.S. for years. Because of that, the Red Cross says the national blood supply is now at critically low levels. That can delay medical procedures for people who need urgent medical care.

Madeleine Harrison's son was just 7 days old and weighed less than five pounds when he received his heart in 2007. He's 16 years old now and loves to do races and triathlons with his family.

Harrison says her son wouldn't be alive and thriving without fellow Texans donating blood.

"My son, Keegan Harrison, is the youngest and smallest heart transplant recipient in the state of Texas," she said. "Just by taking an hour or so to go ahead and do that to something that is fairly easy to do. When we have the chance, it could literally mean the difference between life and death."

Both North Texas moms are asking people to step up and donate blood if they can.

"That's something that's needed in so many different ways, whether it's from an illness or from an accident," Harrison said.

"And without people coming and donating their blood, it could cost us our life. It could cost my children their life," Tucker said.

American Red Cross Donation Locations

Children's Organ Transplant Association