This is probably not a headline you wanted to read while you were sipping your morning coffee, but nonetheless here we are. There are tons of reasons that you should be a little worried about the blood supply across the country, and even a few ways that you can help out. Red Cross EVP, Chris Hrouda, knows a thing or two about the shortage we are currently facing across our country.
Hrouda is responsible for blood collections, testing, manufacturing and distribution operations throughout the Red Cross. In 2016, he was appointed to serve as the chair of the Alliance of Blood Operators to help promote international cooperation and strategic support between more than 90 blood industry operators.
The Red Cross is an amazing organization that has been helping people across the country for years: “The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.” So, basically, they could very well save your life one day, and for that you should pay attention to the blood shortage happening.
Hrouda had a lot to say on the topic of blood being at an all-time low during this time of the year, and the neat ways that you can help alleviate the issue at hand. It’s a crazy situation, but someone has got to help manage it, and Hrouda is just the man to do so. In fact, the Red Cross as a whole is urging everyone who is eligible to consider donating. This could help to save a life in a real and tangible way across the nation.
So how bad is the shortage, you ask? Well, apparently we are in dire need of more blood across our country. “It’s a very significant shortage. We have issued an emergency call for blood donors across the country,” Hrouda says. We’re asking that anybody who’s eligible to donate red cells or platelets to do so now. Over the last several weeks and months, we’ve actually collected about 40,000 less units than our hospitals have requested.” he added.
Yikes! Blood shortage can occur at any time, but summer is especially hard because, “About 20 percent of [the red cross’] blood donations annually come from students that are in college and high schools and we just don’t have access to those donors in the summer. Our donor base really takes a hit in the summer and it’s really difficult for us to make up the difference,” Hrouda stressed. It may not be the most exciting and easy thing to do, but at this time in our nation, it is the most necessary.
Summer is almost to a close, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get out there and get donating. Not to mention, there is still time to warn others about the shortage. Don’t take for granted that blood pumping through your veins. To find out how, head to redcrossblood.org or download the blood app, yes such a thing exists, and make a difference.
Eligible blood donors are urged to schedule a donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
The Red Cross has added more than 350 hours to donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks. Donors are encouraged to make a donation appointment to reduce possible wait-times at blood donation sites.
Blood and platelet donors can also save time when they donate by completing a RapidPass, which enables donors to complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To complete a RapidPass, follow the instructions at www.redcrossblood.org/RapidPass.
Feature Image: Tim (Flickr)