As more people are treated for unexpected injuries and undergo long-awaited elective surgeries, the need for blood is surging. With pandemic restrictions easing up, less people are taking the time to donate and this is causing a severe blood shortage.
“It’s so important to give what god gave most of us. Healthy bodies and healthy blood to share with other folks that just aren’t so fortunate or are going through a rough time,” said Tara Brower. She is from Washington, Indiana and she has been feeling the impact of the blood shortage in her fight against leukemia. “There have been times where I needed two units of blood for a blood transfusion and I was only approved one due to the need within the hospital. There may have been other surgeries that took precedence.”
In the past seven months Brower has received 40 blood, or platelet, transfusions as she undergoes cancer treatments at a hospital in Texas. People in the Tri-State have donated blood in Brower’s honor.
“It [blood donations] keeps us alive while we are receiving that treatment. It’s so important,” said Brower.
The American Red Cross Blood Donor App allows you to book your appointment and track your blood donation.
“Every time I’ve used this feature, my blood has been within two hours. So it’s either gone to St. Louis or in Louisville and that’s just awesome,” said Ashley Hughes, District Manager for Donor-Recruitment at American Red Cross of Southwest Indiana.
During an emergency blood delivery, it might be possible to know what your donation was needed for. Typically the system just alerts you of the hospital your blood went to as one donation can be given to three people.
“It just makes it seem like wow, I really am making a difference for this hour of my time,” Hughes said right now hospitals have much less blood on hand than they are used to. “Typically we like to have 5 days blood product supply on our shelves across the country. We actually have less than half of a day’s.”
American Red Cross workers have been holding blood drives to help stabilize the national blood supply. They are gearing up for the Celebrate Freedom Blood Drive where donors will receive a free pass to an amusement park. That Summer Full of Blood Drive will take place on July 6.