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Why donating blood to the Red Cross this January is so important

Posted at 8:15 AM, Jan 06, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- One year ago, the American Red Cross declared its first-ever national blood crisis due to a severe blood shortage. Today, the organization said they are in a much better place thanks to those who rolled up their sleeves.

"We saw a huge response from the public to put us in a better situation as we went throughout the year," explained Jonathan McNamara, Red Cross spokesman.

Even though there are more donations coming in than last year, the Red Cross is still seeing a 20% reduction in blood drive turnout across Virginia and the United States.

"We're a national supplier at the Red Cross, so when we see events across the country, this severe weather, the cold spurs that we've seen, that had a ripple effect here in Virginia because we so many blood drives canceled across the country," said McNamara. "So that's why what you're doing here, you're not only helping area hospitals have the blood they need, but to make sure that wherever there is a need for blood in the United States, it can be met."

The rise in COVID-19 and flu cases has also caused several blood drives to be canceled.

The Red Cross has also seen a rise in the need of blood because with more people feeling comfortable traveling around the holiday season, which has led to more trauma cases in hospitals due to crashes, etc. That's led to a strain on blood supply.

"Many people are setting New Year's resolutions, and we're really just asking the public to resolve to help save a life," said McNamara. "There is no substitute for your blood donation to support area hospitals, whether it's mothers who have complications after childbirth, patients who have trauma, they need that blood in those emergency situations, and you the donor at the other end is really critical to that."

The Red Cross has a variety of incentives for those who do roll up their sleeves to donate, including gift cards and T-shirts. If you are unable to donate blood, you can still help the Red Cross by volunteering.

To find a blood drive near you, click here.

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