The American Red Cross is holding two blood drives in Highland County in September, and the organization encouraged donors to make time to give blood to ensure it is available to patients this fall because blood for patients can only come from volunteer donors.
The first blood drive in the county will be held at the McClain High School gym in Greenfield on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org using sponsor code GreenfieldHS.
The second blood drive will be held at the Greenfield Area Christian Center on Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 12-6 p.m. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org using sponsor code AdenaGreenfieldMC.
Those who come to donate will receive a free haircut coupon by email and will be automatically entered for the chance to win a VIP NASCAR racing experience through a donation from Sport Clips Haircuts. More details are available at rcblood.org/racetogive. Donors will also receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt while supplies last.
American Red Cross Central and Southern Ohio Regional Communications Director Marita Salkowski emphasized the importance of donating blood. “You can literally save lives,” she said. “There are types of patients, whether it is a leukemia patient, cancer patient, accident victim, or mothers giving birth that just happen to hemorrhage — there are just a lot of needs and uses for blood that by giving blood you are literally saving lives.”
She said blood cannot be manufactured and is only obtained through donors.
According to Salkowski, Type O blood is the universal blood type and the type most needed for transfusions, but all blood types are needed. “I always hesitate to answer that question because then people that aren’t Type O think their blood type isn’t needed,” she said. “So, while Type O is the type that hospitals use for their transfusion procedures, there is a need for all blood types across the board for those people to give.”
At the beginning of this year, the American Red Cross announced its first ever national blood crisis. While the supply has since rebounded, the agency was strictly rationing blood to hospitals that they supply. According to the Red Cross, doctors were forced to make difficult decisions about who received blood transfusions and who needed to wait until more products were available.
During that time, the Red Cross experienced a 10 percent overall blood donation decline since March of 2020 and a 62 percent drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors accounted for 25 percent of all donors in 2019, but only 10 percent during the pandemic.
“What I can tell you is there is always a need to keep blood on the shelf,” said Salkowski. “Blood is something that cannot be stockpiled, so it’s a constant in and out of the product. In order to make sure that we can meet the needs of the hospitals, we have to have the blood on the shelves when the situation arises, so there is always a need and the need is constant.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.