The American Red Cross issued an emergency need for donors of all blood types. Following the busy Independence Day weekend, blood donations are being distributed far faster than they are coming in. Save a life and donate now.

Earlier today, July 9, the American Red Cross sent out the call asking all donors of all blood types to donate. What caused the shortage? According to redcross.org, the July 4 weekend resulted in 450 fewer blood drives than normal. As a result, there were as many as 17,000 fewer blood donations.

Why were there so few blood drives? According to AAA, nearly 49 million Americans took trips over the four day weekend, a record setting number. As a result, fewer people were available to donate.

Each day, kids battling cancer, accident victims being raced to the emergency room and mothers experiencing complicated childbirths rely on lifesaving blood. We need the public’s help today to ensure we have enough blood to meet these dire needs.- Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer, American Red Cross

This list has been published many times before, but maybe it's time to run it again. Here we go... my top five reasons why you should donate blood.

5. It's painless. Seriously, it doesn't hurt. Yeah, they have to poke a finger with a little needle to get a sample, and that's kind of a drag. Aside from that, you hardly notice anything.

4. The people at the blood bank are awesome.

3. You really do get free orange juice and cookies!

2. You never know when you might need blood. Wouldn't it give you peace of mind to know there was blood waiting should you need it?

1. You literally are saving a life. How many times today will somebody need blood right here in Grand Junction? How about around the country? Will it be someone you know? A family member? Be proactive! Emergencies happen without warning, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared.

I did a search, and was surprised to find there are no blood drives schedule within a 50-mile radius of Grand Junction anytime in the next two weeks. You can stay up to speed with the American Red Cross' upcoming blood drives at their official website.