The American Red Cross has extended its emergency call for blood and platelet donations because of the continued critical summer blood shortage.

Eligible donors of all types are urgently needed.

A bloodmobile visit has been added in Botetourt in the final week of July, this one on Saturday, July 29 from 8 a.m.-12 noon at the Church of Transfiguration, 7624 Roanoke Road (US 220) just south of Fincastle.

Other donor opportunities include a bloodmobile on Wednesday, Aug. 2 from 2-6 p.m. at the Summerdean Church of the Brethren at 6604 Plantation Road, Roanoke. Most weekdays, people can also donate at the Roanoke Valley Blood Donor Center, 352 Church Avenue SW, Roanoke.

After issuing the emergency call earlier in the month, the Red Cross has experienced a 30 percent increase in blood donation appointments through mid-July. About half of the appointments were scheduled by donors using the free Blood Donor App or at redcrossblood.org. Despite this improvement, blood products are still being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in, so more donations are needed to meet patient needs and replenish the blood supply, the Red Cross reported.

“The blood supply is like a cell phone battery, it constantly needs recharging,” said Bernadette Jay of the Mid-Atlantic & Appalachian Blood Services Regions. “We sincerely appreciate those who have responded to the call to help save lives and encourage those who haven’t to consider rolling up a sleeve and give the gift of life. It only takes about an hour but can mean a lifetime for patients.”

Nearly 61,000 fewer blood donations than needed were given through the Red Cross in May and June, prompting the emergency call for donations in early July. The shortfall was the equivalent of the Red Cross not receiving any blood donations for more than four days. To schedule an appointment to donate, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to avoid longer wait times. Donors with all blood types are needed.