By David Foust, American Red Cross volunteer
Did you know that each day the American Red Cross needs to collect about 12,500 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country? In fact, someone in the United States needs blood about every two seconds. A single car accident victim may require up to 100 units of blood. The need for blood is urgent and constant, and the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a severe decrease in our blood supply across the nation. When people are asked why they don't give blood, one of the most common answers is that they “just never thought about it.”
The reality is that donating blood is a simple thing to do and can make an enormous difference in the lives of those in need. You can donate whole blood every 56-days up to six times per year. The donation process takes about an hour and the free Red Cross Blood Donor App makes scheduling and managing an appointment easy.
The City of Temecula recently hosted a Red Cross blood drive at their Civic Center.
Eddie Valle, a Temecula resident, answered the call for donors. When he heard about the blood drive in his area, Eddie arranged his schedule and made an early afternoon appointment on his smartphone using the Blood Donor App. Eddie finds using the App convenient and easy for finding the closest location and selecting a donation time that works best for his schedule. He donates regularly as payback for the lifesaving blood his mom needed years ago when she required a transfusion during surgery.
When Eddie arrived at the City of Temecula Civic Center for his appointment, he was greeted by first-time Red Cross volunteer Danielle Tabares, who had his name tag ready and waiting for him. Danielle is a student majoring in nursing at Mt. San Jacinto Community College and was referred by her father to fulfill our need for volunteer Blood Donor Ambassadors. As a volunteer, she ensures that blood donors have a pleasant and fulfilling experience at blood drives.
At a time when many businesses and organizations across the country are experiencing pandemic challenges, the Red Cross is no different. We are all learning how to live in this new environment, how we spend our time, where we work, how we give back, how we make a difference in the lives of others – donating blood must continue to be part of it.
The Red Cross is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available. Blood donations are needed now and, in the weeks, ahead to help overcome the blood shortage.
To learn more about donating blood or platelets or to schedule an appointment, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or download the Red Cross Blood Donor App.