Blood is in short supply, in large part because of the coronavirus outbreak, says Maya Franklin, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross in Charlotte, NC.
“That’s resulted in dozens, if not hundreds, of blood drove cancellations by our sponsors,” she says.
That statement only refers to the Carolinas region between Rock Hill, SC, and Greensboro, NC. Nationally, says Franklin’s Rock Hill colleague, Ashley Collier, about 5,000 blood drives had been cancelled, through March 20.
“That is a lot of units going uncollected,” Franklin says. “A lot of patients who may be at risk. We want to be able to ensure that those patients who need blood for a chronic illness, for those patients who need blood because of an emergency, that the supply is available.”
Because of those dozens/hundreds of cancellations, nearly 2,200 units of blood that would otherwise have been collected in just the Charlotte metro area have not been donated. Stretched out to that Rock Hill-to-Greensboro corridor, the number jumps above 7,600 as of March 25.
That said, people can still give blood at American Red Cross centers.
Gwen Enzor and her daughter, Seabrooks, recently gave at the Park Street location in Charlotte. The pair have given several times and say they plan to regularly give through the outbreak, as long as they feel healthy.
“We have both been through surgeries and needed blood,” Gwen says. “Right now, it’s very difficult for people to want to come out because they’re afraid. This is the one thing we can do [to] help us control our environment.”
At the Rock Hill location, donor Julie Sale, a church worker from Fort Mill, has a similar perspective.
“People are wanting to help in any way they can,” she says. “This is one way they can help.”
Franklin says the Red Cross is asking anyone who is healthy and wants to give blood to make an appointment. You can find a donation center and set up a time to visit at RedCross.org. Walk-ins are welcome, but you may have to wait 45 minutes to an hour to get on the donor table.
Check out the companion piece to this report, by Kaitlyn Cannon of SCETV, by clicking here.
Scott Morgan is the Upstate Multimedia Reporter for South Carolina Public Radio. Follow Scott on Twitter @ByScottMorgan.