NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT) – For months we have been talking about the nationwide blood shortage, and this month the Red Cross said it’s now in its first ever blood crisis. The Red Cross says this is the worst it has been in over a decade and poses a huge risk on patients who need blood transfusions.

“Our need is at an all time high for blood but we’re not seeing the turnout,” said Theo Boots of the American Red Cross. “Now is the time to donate blood.”

We hear these concerns and may think we’ll get around to it some day, but what we don’t realize – there are people who’s lives depend on your donation right now.

“If there was a blood shortage, there’s a potential I couldn’t have made it,” said Ashley Byers.

Byers gave birth to her second daughter, Riley, in April of 2016. She had a complication where she started to bleed out and had an emergency hysterectomy, but her blood would still not clot.

“The blood quit clotting. I was rushed to Deaconess Gateway hospital in the ICU and I received over 100 units of blood products,” Byers added.

She spent eight days in the hospital and her newborn daughter also had to receive blood transfusions. In 2019, Carissa King suffered from a blood clot in her lung, causing her to take a blood thinner. The medication caused complications where King required a blood transfusion.

“I was in a critical state at that time. My hemoglobin levels were very low. It wouldn’t have been a good thing, I wouldn’t have recovered if I wouldn’t have received that,” said King.

Thanks to blood donors, Byers and King were given the gift of life.

“My two girls get to grow up with their mom and a lot of that is due to all the donors who gave blood,” said Byers.

“I have three kids and a grandson, and yeah I wouldn’t be here,” added King.

One pint of blood can save up to three lives, so in roughly a half an hour, you can make a difference in someone’s life.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that. But overall I’m just very grateful,” Byers added.

If you would like to donate blood products or want more information on upcoming blood drives, head to the American Red Cross website here.