Red Cross declares blood supply emergency; local donors needed
MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - The national blood supply has fallen to critically low levels, and the American Red Cross said recent national disasters have hampered donations, but the shortage is being felt at home in Michigan as well.
“An hour of your time has the ability to impact three lives, and what greater feeling do you get by being able to help your community members?” said Kellie Sopczynski, the manager of donor services at Versiti Blood Center of Michigan.
Summer months are already challenging for blood donation centers, but one thing they weren’t expecting this year was the amount of traveling taking place.
“We saw the busiest travel season on record and a very active early hurricane season,” said Scot Dinsmor, the blood donor account manager for the American Red Cross Michigan Region.
Monday, the American Red Cross declared a national blood supply shortage, seeing a decrease of about 25 percent during the month of August, but those effects are also being felt at the state level as well.
“Our inventories continue to be not an ideal state here in Michigan,” Sopczynski said.
There is also a concerning trend the blood center is seeing recently, and they believe the blood supply levels could increase if that trend changes.
“Thirty percent of Michigan’s blood supply comes from high schools, and we’re seeing a trend where high schools and business-based blood drives are declining,” Sopczynski said.
Versiti Blood Center and the Red Cross are both active daily in the communities with multiple mobile teams, but they believe having more first-time donors come in as well as donors under the age of 50 would help.
“Whereas 37 percent of the United States is eligible to give blood, close to about 4 percent do,” Dinsmor said. “So again, we want those who can give to show up and give.”
Sopczynski said the community needs to see the importance of donating.
“It’s really just educating the community on the difference it makes of donating today so that the blood supply is there for tomorrow,” she said.
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