San Diego, California - The American Red Cross today kicked off a 100-day campaign urging eligible donors to give blood and platelets this summer.

The new Red Cross campaign called “100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.” seeks to increase blood donations during the summer months, a time when donations typically drop. Patients need blood throughout the summer, but the Red Cross sees about two fewer donors at each blood drive between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays. The “100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.” campaign will continue through September 1.

“This summer, there are 100 days for blood and platelet donors to roll up a sleeve and help a patient in need,” said Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “It’s difficult to collect enough blood for patients during the summer because so many people are busy with seasonal activities and schools are out of session. But the need for blood is constant and patients are still relying on lifesaving blood products. ”

To highlight the need for blood around the Memorial Day weekend, all blood and platelet donors who come in to give from May 24 through May 26 will receive a commemorative Red Cross cooling towel while supplies last.

Donors are encouraged to participate in the campaign by making and keeping appointments to give and by asking family and friends to join them in their effort to help save lives. Visit the Red Cross at redcrossblood.org, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks; and use the #chooseyourday hashtag throughout the summer to read and share inspiring stories of hope.

HOW TO HELP The Red Cross needs to collect 15,000 blood donations every day - even during the summer - to have enough blood to help the patients like young Drew in 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. People can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information or to make a donation appointment.

All blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.