Facebook debuts US blood donation tool, its latest public health move

Facebook is no longer just a place to connect with former high school buddies; the social media giant now wants to make it easier for you to connect with blood banks, too.

Blood supplies are at an emergency level throughout Michigan.

According to the American Red Cross, 450 fewer blood drives were held by businesses last week because of the holiday and there is now less than a three-day supply of blood.

The Red Cross said all blood types are needed but there’s less than a two-day supply of type O.

They’ve added 8,000 additional appointments at donation centers but need people to fill them.

The American Red Cross is not alone. Blood donations are down 20 percent for the Versiti Blood Center of Michigan. 

"Less donations means less inventory to be able to supply our local hospitals," said Kellie Sopczynski, manager of donor services for Versiti Blood Center in Michigan.

Sopczynski said a big reason why blood donations are down is people are on vacation and kids are not in school. Unfortunately, the need for blood doesn't take a summer break.

"We rely on 30 percent of our donations to come through our high schools," Sopczynski said.

She hopes others in the community can help fill the blood shortage gap.

"It's not every day you get to say you get to save someone's life. So that's a great thing to be able to be a part of," Sopczynski said.

She said in order to donate, you must be at least 16-years-old with a parental consent.

"We're looking for all blood types. All blood types are important to keep every blood type supply level at a comfortable level and the more the merrier," Sopczynski said.

Blood drives are being held around Mid-Michigan on the following dates:

  • Saginaw July 12 from 10 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Garber Management, 999 S. Washington Ave
  • Bay City July 19 from 1 p.m. - 5:45 p.m., Paul Davis Restoration of Bay City, 701 Salzburg Ave.
  • Ithaca July 20 from 10 a.m. - 3:45 p.m., Newark Countryside Christian School, 4308 S. Luce Road
  • Saginaw July 23 from 8:15 a.m. - 3 p.m., Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, 1500 Weiss Street
  • Alma July 31 from, 1 p.m. - 6:45 p.m., Alma Public Library, 351 N. Court Avenue

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