Union County, NC – The American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region is facing a critical blood shortage and today issued an appeal for blood donors.
Many donors are busy or traveling, school is out of session and donations in May and June dropped to the lowest levels the Red Cross has seen during this timeframe in over a dozen years. Demand for blood remained steady during this same period, which is why the Red Cross needs people—now more than ever—to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All types are needed, but especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient.
The Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in more than 30 states over the past three months alone – delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. But there’s another, more personal, kind of disaster which can happen to anyone at any time if blood is needed and it’s not available.
“As a physician, I have seen first-hand how blood transfusions can truly help save lives,” said Dr. Thomas Lightfoot, medical director of the American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. ”However, a critical blood shortage like the one we’re experiencing right now could have a devastating effect on a patient whose survival may depend on blood being there when needed.”
Longtime blood donor Keith Eddins knows that feeling firsthand. Six months ago, he was only three miles from his home in Randleman, NC, when his car crashed into several deer and he suffered critical injuries, including a skull fracture, broken back and internal injuries. That day in the emergency room, doctors used 14 units of blood to stabilize Eddins. After eight surgeries, Eddins had received a total of 22 units of blood.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, that blood saved my life,” said Eddins. “I never imagined after 15 years of donating, that I would be the one who actually needed it. It just goes to show, you never know when you might be the one who needs blood.”
Eddins’ story highlights just how important each and every blood donation can be. Because of that, the Red Cross is extending blood drive hours and reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States.
The Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 103 hospitals and must have 1,600 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.
Most healthy people who are 17 years of age, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.
2011 Union County, NC