LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Two organizations are out for blood. The American Red Cross and Kentucky Blood Center have both sent out an urgent plea for more blood donations.
While the supply has been hurting the past year, in recent weeks, it’s gone into crisis mode.
Remy Kennedy, American Red Cross’ Regional Communications Manager, said that local hospitals are canceling elective surgeries right now because they’re seeing only a one-day supply of available blood.
“It’s very concerning for us because we typically like to see about a five-day supply of blood on the shelves,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said that while all blood types are needed, O positive and O negative are the most critical right now.
“O negative is actually kind of like liquid gold for the hospitals because that’s going to be the first thing they’re going to grab for when it’s a trauma patient and they don’t have time to check for what blood type it is,” Kennedy said.
The American Red Cross has identified one main reason why blood donations continue to take a hit, and it’s due to the cold weather and lack of access to schools.
“The pandemic I know has especially hurt our donors who are college and high school age from donating because we haven’t been able to get into those high schools and colleges,” Kennedy said.
With word getting around town, there have been many donors coming forward here at the Kentucky blood center.
One donor, David Godsey, said he was donating blood because it’s something he used to do often. “Recently my brother-in-law just had open-heart surgery. I used to give consistently; just got out of the habit of doing it, but I enjoyed it when I did it,” Godsey said.
Another donor, Carol Keene, works as a physical therapist at CHI Saint Joseph Health Hospital, and she said she sees the critical need for blood every day.
“My dad always donated blood, and I do it in his memory. I lost him in ’88. Even the COVID patients are needing blood transfusion. I see it on a day in and day out basis,” Keene said.
The call for blood donations also brought in one Vietnam Veteran, Bill Harrison, who has made more than 80 appointments over the years.
Bill Harrison said, “I’ve donated over ten gallons. Veterans, firemen, and people like that who are trying to do things to help the community, they’re regular blood donors.”
Supplying blood to 70 hospitals in the area, Kentucky Blood Center’s Brand Supervisor, Cathryn Papasodora said donating blood is very much like helping a neighbor down the street.
“It’s the blood that’s on the shelves that’s actually going to help save somebody who’s in a car accident or is giving birth to their child that needs blood,” Papasdora said.
Kentucky Blood Center is currently hosting its annual “Big Blue Slam” competition with Florida Blood Center. It’s a week-long race to see who can replenish the most donations the fastest.
The American Red Cross has just partnered with Krispy Kreme Donuts for the first time, offering a dozen original glazed donuts to blood donors. To receive the free Original Glazed dozen, visit a participating Krispy Kreme shop by Jan. 31 and present a donation sticker or a digital donor card through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
Those who come to give blood Feb. 1-28, 2022, will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, thanks to Amazon. (Terms apply. Visit rcblood.org/together.)