Prestonsburg Community Blood Drive gets donations flowing during ‘national blood crisis’

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Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:23 PM EST
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - American Red Cross is working to get blood donations flowing in as a nation-wide “blood crisis” continues.

Officials with Red Cross say the number of blood donations has plummeted since the beginning of the pandemic. And, on top of the decreased donations, the pandemic and recent natural disasters have increased the need for blood, with more patients requiring transfusions.

“Since the beginning of COVID, over the past like two years, we’ve seen a 10% drop in the number of people donating blood. And that has impacted the supply of blood across the country,” said District Manager Ben Wilson.

In an effort to push past the “historically low blood supply levels,” Red Cross hosted a blood drive in Prestonsburg Thursday, partnering with the city and the Mountain Arts Center to get the community involved.

“Right now, we really need everyone to get out and donate. Especially type O negative and O positive,” said Wilson.

That drive, planned with short notice, collected 32 units of blood. Organizers say it was great to see a community burdened to help people in need.

“We don’t normally plan blood drives in a couple of weeks, but we were able to pull this one off,” said Wilson.

Red Cross officials say the shortage, which is the worst in more than a decade, forces some hospitals to defer patients, including those in line for transplants.

“If they care about their humanity, they should do it. If they care about their family, some of their families might need blood one day,” said donor Elbert Baldridge. “And you have a good feeling, knowing that you were able to help somebody. And maybe somebody will come and help your family.”

With each donation holding the ability to save up to three lives, Wilson says the moments spent donating are well worth it.

“You know, every two seconds someone across the country needs blood,” said Wilson. “So, it’s really impactful to come out and donate.”

Wilson said the organization is also always looking for volunteers, saying anyone who is unable to give blood could still be able to offer up their time.

Many donors say the blood drive coming to town made it more convenient for them to give, since they usually have to travel to make it happen. If you missed the drive, organizers say you can find another opportunity to give by checking the Red Cross website or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. The Blood Donor App is also available to let donors track and schedule blood donations.

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