Amazon has announced a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross to help increase blood donations and reduce shortages. The $1 million donation will be in the form of Amazon.com gift cards offered to those who come out to give blood at critical times throughout the year to help meet patient needs. The Red Cross responds to emergencies every day across the country, whether it’s supporting a family after a natural disaster or helping to provide critical blood products to a patient in need.
Right now, there is a blood type O shortage, and donors of all blood types who give blood with the Red Cross through June 10 can receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. Type O blood is the most needed blood group by hospitals—and used in trauma situations—but is often in short supply. According to the Red Cross, about six units of type O blood are currently available for every 100,000 people each day, but at least 14 units are needed.
“Donating blood is a unique way to make a lifesaving difference,” said Gail McGovern, President & CEO of the American Red Cross. “The summer months are particularly challenging for blood collection due to busy summer schedules, vacations and fewer drives, but patient needs don’t take a break. Blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled in advance—it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps in times of emergency. Thanks to Amazon’s generous gift and continued support we are able to encourage more people to help ensure blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed.”
This June, Amazon is also partnering with the Red Cross in an upcoming campaign by hosting 17 blood drives for its employees at its Seattle headquarters and offices across the country. The donated blood will help people in need, from children battling cancer, accident victims rushing to emergency rooms, and new moms facing complicated childbirths who need lifesaving blood transfusions.
“Amazon is proud to once again work with the Red Cross in support of their disaster relief efforts around the world,” said Dave Clark, Amazon SVP, Worldwide Operations. “Donating blood, particularly type O, is so critical to saving lives and we hope these gift cards provide further incentive for everyone to get up, get out, and give blood.”
Launched this spring, Amazon Alexa customers can now schedule a blood donation appointment, find blood drives nearby and get appointment notification reminders using the Red Cross Blood skill. Donors can open the Red Cross Blood skill with a selection of prompts such as, “Alexa, open Red Cross Blood Skill.” The Red Cross Blood skill for Alexa is available to anyone with an Alexa-enabled device such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show or Echo Spot. It can be enabled in the Alexa Skills Store through the Alexa app or Amazon.com. Learn more about the Red Cross Blood skill on RedCrossBlood.org.
The O shortage is critical because type O negative blood can be transfused to any patient, so it’s often used in trauma situations when hospital staff do not have time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and also critical in trauma and other situations. Donors of all blood types are encouraged to give now.
All those who come to give blood or platelets will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, through June 10. While type O is critically needed, platelet and blood donors of all types are urged to give now to help trauma patients and others who depend on lifesaving blood products. For anyone who cannot donate blood but still wishes to support The Red Cross’ life-saving efforts, visit redcross.org to find out how to get involved.
This donation is part of Amazon’s commitment to “Right Now Needs,” which includes increasing access to food, shelter, and basic goods for children and their families, who suffer from hunger, homelessness or disasters. Disaster Relief by Amazon leverages Amazon’s vast operational excellence and worldwide logistics network to provide fast and effective support to worldwide relief operations fighting large-scale natural disasters. Amazon has shipped truckloads of Amazon-donated items to communities ravaged by hurricanes, sent solar powered lights to people living without power after tsunamis, and enabled customers to easily donate products and cash on Amazon.com. Amazon’s Disaster Relief by Amazon team has previously worked with the Red Cross by sending Prime Air planes packed with relief items to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, supported Red Cross call centers, launched an Alexa donation skill, and more.