Need for blood donations reaches emergency statusJuly 9, 2012
By Katelyn Gendron
GREATER SPRINGFIELD The word "emergency" is not one that is used casually at the American Red Cross, which is why its use to describe the country's current need for blood should be taken very seriously.
"This is the first appeal of its kind in 2012. It truly is an emergency situation. We've never used an 'emergency call [for donations]' in the two and a half years I've been here," Jecoliah Ellis, communications manager of the Massachusetts Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross told Reminder Publications. "We have almost half the amount of readily available blood in our inventory as compared to the same time last year. We need more donations and are urging people who can give to do so now."
The Red Cross received 17,000 units (pints) of blood across the nation each day, Ellis explained, noting that the agency collected 100,000 units in June 2011 but only collected 50,000 this June.
"In June across the nation [we received] 50,000 units less than expected and to make matters worse the mid-week holiday with Independence Day many of our donor partners were closed for business [and blood drives] so heading into July we're already behind," she added.
The floods in the Southeast and the wildfires in the Midwest have also led to the shortage causing numerous blood drives to be cancelled, Ellis noted, adding that all blood types are needed, however, O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative are required most of all.
"Blood must be available at a moment's notice when seconds count to help save or sustain a life. We have reached an emergency situation and the blood will not be there without the immediate response of volunteer blood donors," Donna Morrissey, director of communications for the Red Cross Blood Services Northeast Division, said. "The Red Cross relies upon generous blood donors so we can supply blood when and where it is needed. Right now, patients in hospitals across the country need you to roll up your sleeve and give the gift of lifesaving blood."
When asked if blood donations would be distributed to local hospitals, Ellis replied, "The Red Cross believes in 'blood without boarders' and that blood is available whenever and wherever it's needed. That's what makes the national system so efficient [but] we first meet the needs of area hospitals."
This month, donors will get a free carton of Friendly's Ice Cream.
For more information, call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org
The following is a list of blood drives taking place throughout the region this month.
- July 10 from noon to 6 p.m. Genesis Spiritual Life & Conference Center, 53 Mill St., Westfield.
- July 12 from noon to 6 p.m. Mater Dolorosa School, 25 Maple St., Holyoke.
- July 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, 580 Meadow St., Chicopee.
- July 17 from noon to 7 p.m. Eastern States Exposition Better Living Center, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield.
- July 18 from 1 to 6 p.m. OMG, 153 Bowles Road, Agawam.
- July 19 from 1 to 7 p.m. Bethlehem Baptist Church, 216 Allen St., Hampden.
- July 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tower Square, 1500 Main St., Springfield.
- July 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. University of Massachusetts (UMass) Campus Center, 1 Campus Center Way, Amherst.
- July 23 from noon to 6 p.m. Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 319 Granby Road, South Hadley.
- July 23 from 1 to 7 p.m. Thornes Market, 150 Main St., Northampton.
- July 24 from noon to 5 p.m. Cooley Dickinson Hospital, 30 Locust St., Northampton.
- July 24 from noon to 6 p.m. Moose Family Center, 244 Fuller Road, Chicopee.
- July 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Burger King, 353 Russell St., Hadley.
- July 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. UMass Mullins Center, 200 Commonwealth Ave., Amherst.
- July 26 from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monson Senior Center, 106 Main St., Monson.
- July 27 from noon to 6 p.m. Agawam Fire Department, 800 Main St., Agawam.
- July 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wing Memorial Hospital, 40 Wright St., Palmer.
- July 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, 405 Boston Road, Springfield.
- July 30 from 1 to 7 p.m. Knights of Columbus, 26 Baldwin St., East Longmeadow.
- July 30 from noon to 6 p.m. Genesis Spiritual Life & Conference Center, 53 Mill St., Westfield.