As supplies of specific blood types remain low, Blood Assurance is making an appeal for donors and especially those from millennial and Gen Z generations to step up and donate.
Less than one day’s supply of O-negative, O-positive, and B-negative remains on the shelf, according to a press release sent Monday by the nonprofit. A-positive, A-negative and B-positive red cells are also in need at this time, with only two day’s supply available.
The number of younger donors has fallen due to low donor turnout and continuous blood drive cancellations throughout their schools and work places.
“High school aged donors are down from 16% to only 4% of the blood donor population this year according to Blood Centers of America,” Dr. Elizabeth Culler, medical director at Blood Assurance, said. “We need our community of younger donors to come out in full force to ensure we have what we need for our local patients. COVID-19 has limited our ability to collect at schools, manufacturing plants and offices. We need people with these blood types to give at a drive near them as soon as possible.”
Blood Assurance is asking everyone with these blood types who can donate blood to do so during this time of critical need, according to the release. As the community starts to return to their normal activities such as work, school and vacation, hospital usage also increases because of things such as auto accidents, major surgeries, babies getting sick, and cancer patients needing treatments.
All donors 18 and older who give twice before Sept. 30 can be entered to win a Big Green Egg grill. It is not too late to win. Donors can donate two units of red cells at one time if they are eligible and will be entered to win as well. Donors can also encourage a friend, co-worker, or family member to make an appointment to donate and will receive an extra entry to win the Big Green Egg. Blood Assurance will be giving three Big Green Eggs away to three donors who give June through September.
High School students who donate twice now through Dec. 31 will be entered to win a brand new PS5. Blood Assurance is celebrating the class of heroes this fall with a special T-shirt gift as well. Lack of school drives during the pandemic have tremendously impacted the blood supply.
Blood Assurance is continuing to take extra precautions at this time to ensure the safety of donors and staff. Staff and donors are required to wear masks and staff are frequently disinfecting all items and surfaces used by donors. They are also accepting donors by appointment only and these appointments are being spaced apart to ensure adequate distance.
Blood donation is essential to the infrastructure of health care and the only way to ensure patients have the blood they need is for people to donate. Blood cannot be manufactured and all blood used in community hospitals is from volunteer donors.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
To schedule an appointment or find a donor center or mobile drive near you, visit www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, call 800-962-0628 or text ‘BAGIVE’ to 999777.