Regular blood donation essential to saving East Texas lives

East Texas News at 6.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 3:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:10 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - It’s the true gift of life: blood.

But according to the Red Cross, blood donations, though stable in East Texas, are still down substantially overall, with the pandemic playing a part starting in 2020.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood; it’s essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries.

“Blood is a resource we cannot manufacture, but it’s also a life-saving resource that we all have with us. When every minute counts, that makes a difference and saves lives,” says James Black with Carter Bloodcare.

Approximately 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U. S. But according to the American Red Cross, donations are down 10 percent since 2020.

“People weren’t getting out, afraid to leave their homes, they thought they had covid, they’re not eligible. We definitely see a great need for blood donations particularly ‘O’ type blood,” says Karen Holt, executive director of the Red Cross East Texas Chapter.

“During the summer we really tend to go into the urgent and critical stage in our blood supply,” Black says.

Statistically you might be surprised to learn, considering how much blood is needed in this country every day, that only 37 percent of the entire population is even eligible to give blood.

“Out of that 37 percent, only 10 percent actually donate,” Holt says.

Meaning only about 3 percent of age-eligible people donate blood yearly, and there’s a 10 percent decrease in that.

“When we go into a blood supply that is low, that should give people cause for concern,” says Black.

One donation can help save more than one life.

“If you think about it, for an hour of your day, you could end up saving three lives,” Black says.

The Red Cross provides about 40% of our nation’s blood supply.

“That life-saving blood that is really needed all across the country,” says Holt.

According to the National Cancer Institute, an average of one-point-six million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer yearly.

Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

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