American Red Cross faces emergency blood shortage

News 12's Lisa LaRocca is at the organization's Hawthorne facility to delve into the intricacies of managing this critical issue.

Lisa LaRocca

Jan 26, 2024, 10:49 AM

Updated 169 days ago


The American Red Cross is currently facing an emergency blood shortage as the number of people who donate blood has dropped dramatically over the last two decades.
The organization, which supplies 40% of the nation's blood supply, has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with blood drives and donations taking a hit. Despite efforts to encourage donations, it's taking longer than expected to motivate people to roll up their sleeves again. According to the Red Cross, only about 2% of the U.S. population actually donates blood, despite 38% being eligible to do so.
Stephanie Dunn Ashley, CEO of the Metro North NY Chapter of the American Red Cross, emphasizes the critical importance of blood donation. "Each pint of blood that you donate has the ability to save up to three lives," she says. Ashley highlights the impact of a blood drive, noting that collecting 50 units of blood can potentially save 150 lives.
Ashley Flowers, of White Plains, has sickle cell disease and says blood transfusions are vital for her survival. "I've actually been on the list for a bone marrow transplant for 12 years, so without receiving that transplant, blood is what keeps me going."
Flowers expressed her heartfelt thanks to blood donors, acknowledging that their donations have helped save her life. "When I receive a transfusion, I can feel my whole body warm up. I'm thankful and grateful to every single person that donates even though I don't know who they are, they helped save my life. I wouldn't be standing here talking to you without blood donors."
Donating blood is a simple process that typically takes about half an hour but can make a significant difference. To learn more about how you can get involved in blood donation or setting up a blood drive, visit the American Red Cross website.
Stephanie Dunn Ashley, CEO, Metro North NY Chapter, American Red Cross
Ashley Flowers, Sickle Cell patient
Requirements for giving blood
African American donors needed
Upcoming blood drives
Who can you help?

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