RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The American Red Cross said turnout for their blood drives have been lower than usual and it’s concerning — because the need remains unchanged.
Jonathan McNamara, the communications director for the Red Cross of Virginia, said blood donations are down by 20%.
The holidays, weather conditions across the country and rising flu, RSV and Covid-19 cases have contributed to the decline in donations.
“We have thousands of patients coming into hospitals across Virginia each and every day that find themselves in a situation where they may need blood,” he said. “Having a regular and robust turnout at our blood drives is the best way to make sure our blood supply is stable.”
Ann Bevan, of Richmond, stopped by one of their blood drives Friday morning.
“They need tons of blood,” she said. “My mom donated for years, and years and years and I felt once she couldn’t do it anymore, I needed to do it myself.”
The non-profit is coming off a historic blood crisis that they declared for the first time ever on January 11, 2022.
The blood shortage affected the way doctors can treat their patients.
The decline in donations also put accident victims, cancer patients and people with blood disorders, like sickle cell disease, most at risk.
Bevan felt compelled to answer their urgent call for her specific blood type, because they told her it’s needed for certain cancer patients.
“If I’m not using my blood or I have plenty to spare, just like food at a table, I might as well do it. It’s just what you do, you know, it’s just like helping someone else. It’s not like it’s any skin off my nose,” she said.
The Red Cross said the shelf life for blood and platelets are a few days, so they need a steady flow of donations to replenish it.
“We’re just grateful for those who do join us at the Red Cross because without them our hospitals would be in a real challenging situation,” said McNamara.
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