By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer is one of the toughest times for those who run blood banks, when demand is highest but donations are the lowest.

Only three out of every one 100 Americans give blood, and every two seconds in this nation someone needs blood, according to Phil Hansen, the DEO of the American Red Cross Minnesota Region.

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“That is simply not enough,” Hansen said.

For some blood types, the outlook is even worse right now. Supplies of major blood types A, B and O are dangerously low.

That is the focus of a “missing types” blood drive at Mall of America, just off the rotunda on the mall’s east side. They are welcoming all blood types at the blood drive, not just blood types A, B and O. If you don’t know your blood type, they will let you know at the time you give blood.

WCCO’s Esme Murphy spoke with Ali Olson, a twin cities mother whose 2-year-old son Finnegan has O-positive blood. Finnegan was kept alive for six months by donated blood before he could get a heart transplant that saved his live.

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“Grateful doesn’t begin to cover how I feel about blood donors,” Ali Olson said. “We do a blood drive every year for his birthday, and I think the least we can do is give blood. It’s something that’s free, it takes very little time to do, and it saves lives. I know that firsthand.”

As people donated to the drive, many had their own stories of need and the need to give back.

“I actually was in a car accident when I was two months old and the only reason I am alive is that I had a blood transfusion,” donor Maggie Mullins said.

If you come out to the Mall of America, the blood drive will continue until 8 p.m.

Also, when your out there, you may do some double takes at some of the signs, such as Starbucks’. It’s missing both the A and the B, because its just one of the businesses there that is pulling their letters A, B and O from their signage to help illustrate the need for those blood types.

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If you can’t make it to the Mall of America you can find out about donations by going to their website, you can call the Red Cross toll free number 1-800-RED-CROSS or click here.

Esme Murphy