MURRAY — The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood donations to address a critical blood shortage nationwide. They need eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now to help save lives.
The Murray donation center had few donors around noon Monday when the chairs should have been filled with blood donors.
“It’s a way that I can help, that I can give,“ said Shesh Tipton, who became a regular donor three years ago. She knew about the blood shortage because the Red Cross sent her an email urging her to come in. They always let her know when she is eligible to donate every three months.
“It’s important to give life to others,” she said, “to make sure that other people can stay healthy and well.”
Across the country, Red Cross blood donations have fallen short over the past two months: 61,000 fewer donations than needed. The shortfall is the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting any blood for more than four days.
“We need every blood donor that has been a blood donor, that is a lapsed blood donor, to please come out,” said Sheri Van Bibber with the Red Cross. “This is the moment that they need to come out and spare an hour.”
Part of the problem: blood drives tied to schools and universities stop for the summer, and many people are busy with vacations and other activities.
“In the summertime, people’s schedules are so busy,” said Van Bibber. “We forget to take that hour out.“
Gave blood today @RedCrossBloodLC. But, they need a lot more than the pint I gave. Coming up at 6:30 @KSL5TV I’ll tell you why there is a nationwide shortage, a critical need for all blood types, and what you can do to help. pic.twitter.com/5xrMiJ7xx4— Jed Boal (@jedboal) July 16, 2018
Over the past four years, nationwide, the American Red Cross has seen a reduction in first-time donors: 80,000 fewer each year. When only 3 percent of the population donates blood to begin with, that drop off leads to a shortage.
“Perhaps they don’t know how needed it is or (they're) afraid. I think some people might be afraid,” said Tipton.
You can make an appointment online at RedCross.org, call 1-800-Red-Cross, or download the Red Cross app and make your appointment there.