The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood this summer for hospital patients in need and offers three easy steps people can take to help save lives.

1. Schedule Use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment.

2. Prepare Get a good night's sleep, eat a nutritious meal and drink extra fluids.

3. Give The donation process start to finish takes about an hour. The actual donation only takes about 10 minutes.

Only about 3 percent of the U.S. population gives blood, which means a heavy reliance on repeat donors to maintain a sufficient blood supply. New blood donors are especially needed during the summer months because many schools where blood drives are held and where new donors give are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacations.

Patients like Anna Schuster might not be here without generous volunteer blood donors. Doctors gave Schuster a 1 percent chance of survival after a collision with a semitrailer. During the first 12 hours after her accident, she received 65 units of blood. Schuster's road to recovery has been long 58 surgeries in the 12 years since her accident, including four in the past 14 months, with many of them requiring more blood transfusions.

Every day there are thousands of patients like Schuster who rely on lifesaving blood donations. That's why donors are urged to give now and give often.

In June, the Red Cross joins blood collection agencies around the world marking World Blood Donor Day by raising awareness about the need for a readily available blood supply. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can make an even greater impact by inviting others to join them in giving.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

OHIO

Jefferson

East Springfield

6/23/2017: 12:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., United Methodist Church of the Cross, State Route 43

Steubenville

6/29/2017: 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Towers Building, 500 Market St., Suite 310

7/4/2017: 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Wintersville Volunteer Fire Dept., 286 Luray Drive

Wintersville

7/3/2017: 12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Crossroads Christian Church, 110 Springdale Avenue

WEST VIRGINIA

Jefferson

Charles Town

6/27/2017: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, 750 Hollywood Drive

Kearneysville

6/30/2017: 1:30 p.m. - 7 p.m., Leetown United Methodist Church, 11133 Leetown Road

Shepherdstown

6/26/2017: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Shepherdstown Fire Hall, 8052 Martinsburg Pike

Marshall

Moundsville

6/27/2017: 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., West Virginia Department of Transportation, One Dot Drive

Ohio

Wheeling

6/17/2017: 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Our Lady of Peace School, 640 Old Fairmont Pike

6/26/2017: 12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Ohio Valley Medical Center, 2000 Eoff Street

How to help

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

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 agein most states(16 with parental consentwhere allowed by state law), 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.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

Volunteers needed

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, contact Emma.Strapple@RedCross.org or visit rdcrss.org/driver.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.