The statistics and what they mean are somewhat staggering. But it's also something that nearly every one of us can and should do something about.
Every couple of seconds, a person in the United States requires life-saving blood. But the American Red Cross — one of the main suppliers of this donated blood — reports a 10 percent drop in June donations of blood and platelets. All blood types are needed.
It's incumbent on anyone who takes this life-saving substance for granted to give. You never know when you may be the one in an emergency or operating room requiring blood to stay alive.
Heartland Blood Centers, which serves several of Chicago's collar counties and Lake County in Indiana, reports similar summer blood-donation challenges.
“Summertime it is historically the time of year when blood centers across the country struggle with their blood inventory levels. We are no exception,” Dennis Mestrich, president and CEO of Heartland Blood Centers, said in a recent release. “Schools close for the summer, and workers go on vacation. This compounds our challenge to collect the blood needed to maintain safe and adequate blood inventories.”
Patients in the 49 area hospitals Heartland serves, including the Community Hospital in Munster, require more than 600 units every day for surgery and treatment, according to Heartland.
Nationwide, the Red Cross reported receiving 50,000 fewer donations in June than expected.
And while donations for these important, nonprofit groups go down in the summer, the demand does not.
Take a moment to look in the mirror or around at your family and loved ones. Imagine what it would be like if they required live-saving blood, and their type was in short supply. Then contact the Red Cross or Heartland for the next available donation opportunity.
The more people who respond to this important need, the better. Every blood type is in demand, and African-American and Hispanic patients require matching certain tissue and blood cell traits, Heartland reports.
To contact Heartland Blood Centers, which keeps blood donations local to the areas in which they are donated, call (800) 786-4483. To donated to the Red Cross, call (800) 733-2767.
Upcoming Red Cross blood drives include: 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Matthias Church hall, 101 Burell Drive, Crown Point; 9 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Indiana Botanic Gardens, 3401 W. 37th Ave., Hobart; 1:30 to 4 p.m. at Charter Fitness of North Hobart, 8560 E. Ridge Road, Hobart; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Family Video, 1520 E. Commercial Ave., Lowell; 1 to 6 p.m. Monday at St. John Township Community Center, 1515 Lincoln Highway, Schererville; and 2 to 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 13039 Wicker Ave., Cedar Lake.