Red Cross in Critical Need of Blood Donations

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Blood donations to the American Red Cross are at a decade low this January.

Canceled blood drives and poor driving conditions due to winter weather have fewer people donating just when hospitals are seeing an influx of weather-related accidents and trauma patients.

A few years ago Briahna Hardaway's dad experienced kidney failure. She says donated blood helped save his life, and that's why she gives whenever she can.

"It helped save his life, and of course it allowed me to be able to live with my dad even longer," Hardaway said.

The American Red Cross blood supply has hit a critical level due in large part to winter storms.

"In the Northeast they've had to cancel thousands of blood drives so we're trying to help them make up for the shortfalls of blood donatoins while maintaining our blood supply to help our hospitals," said Monica Stoneking, Great Lakes Region Communications Manager for the Red Cross.

The American Red Cross Great Lakes region needs 700 pints of blood a day just to meet its hospital need.

"So across the county, multiply that by the 36 regions we have, that's a lot of blood we need to collect every day," Stoneking said.

The Red Cross encourages everyone to donate but especially those with the universal blood type, 'O' negative, those with the rare 'B' negative blood type.

"During the winter weather we see an increase in trauma related accidents, and hospitals are seeing an increase in the need for 'O' negative blood because they don't have time to check the patient's blood type," Stoneking said.

And to get students engaged in the blood drive, the Red Cross and the Big Ten are teaming up. It's a face-off between MSU and University of Michigan to see which school can donate the most.

"I just like helping other people. It's great to be able to give my blood," said MSU freshman Ben Globke.

"I think the challenge is just a bonus to say once again we beat Michigan," said Hardaway.

So how'd it go? Not too bad, says Hardaway.

"When I first saw the needle I was like 'Oh my God!' but it doesn't hurt, it's just a pinch and then you're finished," she said.

She says the feeling she gets from donating makes it more than worth it.

Blood drive coordinators say they're grateful MSU allowed them to come to a student dorm, especially because having to drive in winter conditions is a big reason people don't donate.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 28, 2011 at 08:18 AM
    Red cross makes money off the blood drives.
  • by Casey on Jan 27, 2011 at 07:52 AM
    Well Rene, I am sure you would be singing a different tune when you or a loved one needed blood and they didn't have enough because donors felt they should be compensated. What an idiot.
  • by Rene Location: Hillsdale on Jan 26, 2011 at 03:22 PM
    Yes,I think blood donors should be compensated because if someone receives the blood their insurance company or state medical coverage is billed an astronomical amount for a pint of blood when needed. So why should it be donated for free?
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