Missing letters A, B and O on social media could boost blood donations

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Monday, June 11, 2018
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A sign inside a Red Cross location is missing the letters "a" and "o" as a sign of the type of blood they need the most.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The American Red Cross wants to do more with less on social media and other online destinations.

A campaign, announced locally in Durham on Monday, aims to boost awareness of the need for willing donors by making the letters A, B and O vanish from places people visit on the web.Those letters designate the three main blood types, all in high demand during lifesaving medical procedures like transfusions.

"Every 2 seconds someone on the U.S. needs blood," said Congressman G.K.Butterfield during the announcement of the missing letter campaign. "Each day blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients."

Butterfield, a Democrat who represents North Carolina's 1st Congressional District, says the need for more blood donations is especially acute among minorities who live in the state.

Sherry Johnson agrees, after years of blood transfusions for her three daughters. One was born with sickle cell trait, two were born with sickle cell disease. One of those daughters lost her battle with the disease in December, and Johnson said blood transfusions helped all three maintain their quality of life during treatment.

"So I always appreciate the opportunity to talk about how important blood transfusions are, and how donating has truly saved the lives of my daughters," she told ABC11.

Organizers hope when you notice the three letters missing from some of the sites you see while surfing, you'll be interested in becoming a blood donor or help recruit others. Download the Red Cross Blood Donor app or call your local Red Cross Donation Center and make an appointment.