LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The American Red Cross of Southern Nevada announced Saturday that nationwide it received about 26,000 fewer blood donations than needed to meet the demand of patients in May.

The lack of donations comes as the Red Cross of Southern Nevada joins the global community on June 14 for World Blood Donor Day to raise awareness about the importance of donating blood.

“World Blood Donor Day is a time to acknowledge the selflessness and generosity of blood donors who play a critical role in healthcare systems worldwide,” Dr. Walter Kelley, Medical Director for the Rocky Mountain Division of the American Red Cross said. “This is also a day to remind all potential donors that they can be a lifeline for patients in need, providing vital blood during emergencies and medical treatments.”

Red Cross said the deficit threatens to strain the Red Cross blood supply which may pose a risk to patient care.

The Red Cross often sees a decline in donations during late spring and early summer, especially surrounding holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

“The importance of blood donation cannot be overstated and the need for blood and platelet transfusions doesn’t stop,” Dr. Kelley said.

The Red Cross supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood, collecting about 12,500 blood and 3,000 platelet donations every week.

“Our donors are literally the life blood for those undergoing medical procedures and treatments at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide,” Rachel Flanigan, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Southern Nevada Chapter., said “Any of us could be in an accident and suffer a traumatic injury requiring a transfusion; yet, in the U.S., where 62% of the population is eligible to give, only about 3% does. We strive to raise this percentage for the benefit of all, and we aim to achieve this goal by Independence Day with the help of the community.”