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Living Well: Missing Blood Types

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Something is missing from these refrigerator shelves... 

"When you consider the fact that every two seconds someone needs blood and we don't have enough donors, we're putting patient care at risk."

Blood donations for all blood types -- A, B and O -- are critically low. 

Now the American Red Cross is dropping those letters -- A, B and O -- from its logo -- hoping the glaring illustration of "missing letters" will encourage blood donations. 

Major companies are doing the same for brands like MasterCard.... State Farm.... And Oreo.

"The problem is that the blood supply doesn't always meet the demand. 38% of the population is eligible to donate blood. But only 3% ever do." 

An NBC news colleague, Dagny McDonald, knows firsthand why donations are vital. 

Her son, Jensen, has sickle cell disease. He needs blood -- and a lot of it. 

"I have to come back every three weeks to get blood transfusions."

Those blood transfusions *every three weeks* help Jensen avoid the excruciating pain associated with sickle cell.

"Without that -- he would be in the hospital. He would have pain. The blood transfusions have kept him out of the hospital."

This photo shows the massive amount of blood that's removed from Jensen with each transfusion...

Nine to 10 bags like these are necessary to replace it.

Just one patient... Among thousands nationwide.....who need life-saving help from blood donations.

Blood donations help many kinds of patients -- not only sickle cell -- but also cancer patients and accident victims.

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