Source: Red Cross Penn Jersey
Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. To help meet the constant demand for lifesaving blood donations and prevent blood shortages this winter, the American Red Cross is urging individuals and organizations to be winter heroes by hosting a blood drive.
Right now, the Red Cross needs about 6,500 additional groups across the country to host blood drives in December, January and February to ensure blood will be there for patients who rely on blood products. During the winter, there is often a decrease in the number of blood drives, which can contribute to blood shortages.
According to Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Biomedical Services, “Blood shortages are not uncommon during the winter months, and these shortages could cause delays in patient care. But with the help of volunteer blood drive partners, the Red Cross can be better prepared to meet patient needs all winter long.”
Because more than 80 percent of blood donations are made at blood drives hosted by volunteers, blood drive partners play a vital role in helping ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need. In addition to helping save lives, organizations that host blood drives can also build goodwill in their community, bringing people together around a central cause.
Organizing a blood drive is easier than many expect, and blood drive coordinator Joe Turner agrees. Since 2016, he has hosted an annual blood drive at his church in memory of his father, Woody, who battled cancer for many years and needed platelets during treatment.
The blood host’s main job duties are providing a large, open location, identify volunteers to support donor recruitment, and recruit and schedule blood donors. A Red Cross representative works with the host every step of the way, providing planning assistance, tools to recruit blood donors, equipment, supplies, and the trained staff needed to screen donors and collect donations. Turner adds:
“The donor recruitment manager takes care of the drive logistics, and I help by asking my friends and family to schedule an appointment to give blood at the drive.”
Turner actively recruits blood donors for the drive using social media, flyers. “I would encourage those who are thinking about hosting a blood drive to simply do it. Help your community. “Everybody knows somebody who has needed blood, or may need blood at some point.
“When you think of how many people can benefit from the blood donations given at one drive, that’s most rewarding to me.”