By Leah Asmelash, CNN
If you’re cool, you’ll donate blood.
That’s the message being sent in the latest American Red Cross partnership with “Peanuts.” Everyone who donates blood by April 23 will receive a T-shirt while supplies last, featuring Snoopy as his alter ego, Joe Cool, in front of the Red Cross logo with the caption “Be cool. Give blood.”
Though the Red Cross has previously given out T-shirts tied to other partnerships to donors, this particular shirt has gone viral on TikTok, thus becoming a hot commodity. Copies of the design are already being sold on resale websites like Etsy and eBay.
The impact has been significant. TikTok users posting about their efforts to get the Snoopy shirts are also unintentionally informing viewers about the blood donation process and sparking an uptick in blood donors, too.
“POV: you donated blood to get the red cross x snoopy shirt,” wrote user j_diddy3 in their video chronicling their experience donating blood, which has been viewed over a million times.
“The American Red Cross really popped off with this one,” wrote user Erin Lovett, who donated blood after seeing another Tik Tok user post about the shirt.
The Red Cross began offering the shirts on April 1. In the past, the organization relied heavily on blood drives at colleges and high schools to bolster blood donation among young people — a custom that became difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Darren Irby, executive director of national brand partnerships at the American Red Cross.
As the campaign closes its second week, Irby said social media engagement has turned into action. Blood donations have risen by more than 40% compared to the week before the “Peanuts” partnership, he said, and there’s been a jump in first-time blood donors, too.
“The Red Cross is thrilled that through this partnership we are able to introduce folks to this lifesaving act,” he told CNN.
Last year, the Red Cross, which supplies an estimated 40% of the country’s blood supply, faced the worst blood shortage in more than a decade. Because blood cannot be stored for long periods of time, having a stable blood supply is important, so it can then be used for medical procedures like surgeries, cancer treatment and transfusions after traumatic injuries.
But there has also been scrutiny over rules for who can donate blood in the US. Under current guidelines, gay and bisexual men are required to abstain from sex for three months before donating blood — a rule the American Medical Association has called discriminatory.
In January, the US Food and Drug Administration proposed a change to those guidelines, which would eliminate the three-month waiting period while focusing on more individual risk assessments. That proposal has not yet been finalized.
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