While extreme heat kept some donors at home and severe storms forced the cancellation of dozens of blood drives, the American Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for donors of all blood types

If at least two additional donors give at each blood drive through the end of July -- above what the American Red Cross already expects to collect -- the blood supply would be sufficient to meet patient needs.

Blood drives will take place from 1 to 6:15 p.m. Friday, July 27, at First Presbyterian Church, 178 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan; from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Saturday, July 28, at the American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Ave., Norwalk; and from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday, July 28, at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 1184 Newfield Ave., Stamford.

Red Cross blood donations are at the lowest they have been in 15 years. Public support from the organization's late-June appeal helped temporarily stop a decline in the blood supply. However, the mid-week Independence Day and extreme summer weather contributed to a decrease in donations.

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"We cannot thank enough the blood donors who have already rolled up a sleeve this summer," said Paul Sullivan, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Blood Services Region. "We appreciate the support from donors in Connecticut. We're encouraging all eligible donors who didn't have a chance to give yet to step up and help patients by making an appointment, as well as those who gave earlier in the spring and are now again eligible."

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. As the nation's single largest supplier of blood and blood products, the Red Cross is dedicated to ensuring that every patient who needs a lifesaving transfusion is able to receive one. In fact, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood each day to meet the needs of patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply. Donors with type O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative blood are especially encouraged to give. Call 1-800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally 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.