By Ben Goldberger —
For most healthy people, the only time they think about blood is when they need a Band-Aid. But every two seconds, there is someone who needs a blood transfusion to stay alive.
Whether it’s cancer patients, victims of car crashes or any other tragedy that leads to a loss of blood, someone somewhere is in need of liquid life. Despite this, there is a global shortage of blood, which means hospitals are giving out more blood than they’re taking in.
Vitalant, a non-profit organization that focuses on blood donations and transfusions, declared on Jan. 6 that along with a global shortage, there is a national blood shortage in America specifically.
Vitalant Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ralph Vassallo said, “We strive to maintain a four-day supply of blood just to provide what patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certain blood types.”
The Red Cross Club is holding a blood drive on Feb. 19 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in Vogt 214 at the Speed School of Engineering.
Everyone who is eligible to donate should donate their blood whenever they can because even just one donation can save up to three lives according to the American Red Cross website. It doesn’t cost any money either. Just time.
According to the American Red Cross, someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds, and often they need it in large amounts. A single car crash can leave a person in need of 100 liters of blood.
On top of this, there is no substitute for blood, so the only way to help someone who needs a transfusion is to give them donated blood.
Many blood banks have started rewarding donors in an effort to bring in units of blood. Vitalant is rewarding blood donors in Colorado by giving a coupon for a free beer or soda at local vendors in exchange for donating a pint of blood. The American Red Cross teamed up with the NFL to motivate people to donate by entering donors into a raffle for two free tickets to Super Bowl LIV, as well as giving donors a $20 Amazon gift card after donating Platelets.
Donating blood can be a scary thought, and if it is too much for you, there are other ways to help.
“You can volunteer to help organize blood drives,” said Nicholas Battjes, the primary contact for the U of L Red Cross Club. “Spreading the word about blood drives and getting more people to donate is also an easy way to help out.”
Organizing blood drives and spreading the word encourages others to donate blood. These two activities are not independent of each other though, as it is possible both donate and volunteer.
As long as the people are healthy and meet the requirements for blood to be used, there is no reason to not donate blood. It helps so many people in need, it is free and it only takes up to an hour of your day.
The American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in downtown Louisville is located on East Chestnut street right off of South Jackson Street and is a straight shot from campus on the 18 line of the TARC buses. There are also blood drives held periodically in the Red Barn on campus and the Red Cross website lists other drives in the area.
Only 38 percent of Americans are in the position to save lives. To find out more information on donating or other ways to help, visit www.redcrossblood.org.
Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal