Patients relying on blood see 10 percent decline in donations amid dire times of pandemic and hurricane

Local News

(New York Blood Center Enterprises via AP)

As fall approaches, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to help end the ongoing critical need for blood and kick off the season with a blood or platelet donation. The Red Cross needs donors of all blood types to give now and help ensure lifesaving transfusions are on the sidelines for those who rely on them.

While summer winds down, the Red Cross is concerned that the rise in COVID-19 cases from the delta variant and a potentially active hurricane season may further challenge the ability to collect and meet hospital demand. In recent weeks, the Red Cross has seen blood donor turnout decline by nearly 10 percent while hospital demand continues to outpace donations.

This decline is believed to be due to multiple reasons, including the continued effects of the pandemic on blood drive cancellations and donor availability as well as back-to-school preparations for many families.

Patients are relying on the kindness of blood and platelet donors for their continued treatment. Schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Sport Clips Haircuts and Red Cross partnership helps

Blood donors who come to give throughout the month of September will receive a free haircut coupon by email from Sport Clips Haircuts as part of the Red Cross and Sport Clips Tackle the Need. Give Blood. campaign. As a thank-you, those who come to give Sept. 3-7 will receive a new, 16-ounce Red Cross campfire mug, while supplies last.

Those who come to give blood or platelets Sept. 1-30 will receive a coupon for a free haircut via email several days after their donation. The coupon is valid through Nov. 30, 2021, at participating Sport Clips locations. Donors must have a valid email address on record to receive the coupon.

The Red Cross and Sport Clips encourage donors to use the hashtag #TackleTheNeed to share their new looks and invite others to give.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Sept. 1-15:

Crawford

  • Meadville:
    • Sept. 14th: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Meadville Community Center, 1034 Park Ave
    • Sept. 15th: 3 p.m.-8 p.m., West Mead 2 VFD, 20607 Ryan Road
  • Guys Mills:
    • Sept. 7th: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Randolph Volunteer, 11745 PA 198

Elk

  • Ridgway
    • Sept. 10th: 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Ridgway Central Hose Company, 30 N Broad Street
  • Kersey
    • Sept. 7th: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Fox Township Senior Center, 365 Main Street
  • Saint Mary’s
    • Sept. 8th: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Moose Club Lodge, 30 Erie Avenue
  • Weedville
    • Sept. 9th: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Weedville Wesleyan Church, 18945 Bennetts Valley Highway

Erie

  • Corry
    • Sept. 2nd: 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 650 Worth Street
  • Erie
    • Sept. 7th: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Erie Red Cross Chapter, 4961 Pittsburgh Avenue

Forest

  • Tionesta
    • Sept. 14th: 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., St Anthonys Church, 112 Bridge Street

Venango

  • Cranberry
    • Sept. 8th: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Cranberry Mall, 6945 U.S. Route 322

Health insights for donors 

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.    

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.  

Blood drive safety 

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive. 

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