‘Have you considered donating blood?”

Supplies of blood products at historic low, donors desperately needed

The American Red Cross and Versiti Blood Center of Illinois have issued emergency appeals for blood donations.

In a news release on Monday, the Red Cross said blood inventory is at “historically low inventory levels” with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types – and less than a day’s supply for blood types O positive and O negative.

A five-day supply is ideal, the Red Cross said.

“The Red Cross needs more than 13,000 donations every day to maintain the blood supply,” said Brian McDaniel, executive director of the Illinois River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. “These blood products on the shelf help save lives when an emergency occurs. Donations are down…the need at hospitals are greater than what we’re able to bring into the system. We need to collect about 10,000 additional products every week over the next month to overcome the shortage and meet the needs of patients in the hospitals.”

Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti, said in a news release from the organization on Sunday that the situation is “dire.”

“We are at the point where we are begging our loyal donors, as well as first-time donors in the community, to come out and donate today,” Waxman said in the release “Blood means life, and every single donation matters.”

McDaniel said many people never donate blood because no one has every specifically asked them to donate.

So McDaniel is asking now.

“Have you considered donating blood?” McDaniel said. “It’s safe and easy and we try to make it as convenient as possible.”

McDaniel said people can explore their eligibility to donate at redcrossblood.org.

“Thirty-eight percent of the U.S. population is able to donate,” McDaniel said. “Less than 10 percent actually do.”

Compounding the shortage is a high need for African American donors because the lives of many people with sickle cell depend on it, McDaniel said. People with sickle cell disease are often of African descent, he said. These patients require a blood transfusion that’s closely matched beyond the ABO blood group, he said.

“Finding compatibly blood is really difficult when the blood supply is low,” McDaniel said. “So please donate. And if you’re an African American, really please donate.”

Bolingbrook

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 8, Community Service Council, 440 Quadrangle Dr., Suite C

Channahon

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 4, Village of Channahon, 24555 S Navajo Dr.

Frankfort

1 to 6 p.m., Oct. 1, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, 22712 Wolf Rd.

Joliet

9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sept. 28, Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt

11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 30, ouis Joliet Mall, 3340 Mall Loop Drive

1 to 6 p.m., Oct. 5, Assembly Hall, 1550 Plainfield Road

Romeoville

9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, American Red Cross, 1293 Windham Parkway

19 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 11, omeoville Recreation Center, 900 W Romeo Rd

Schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Versiti Blood Center of Illinois has a donor facility at 2625 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet. Visit donate.illinois.versiti.org and click the “Schedule to Donate” tab.

Denise  Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.