Julia Wulf, the CEO at the American Red Cross says the need is critical. “It’s pretty critical. We're down about 10% so that means potentially that could impact patients not being able to get a blood transfusion,” she goes on to say. Wulf tells ABC 4 Utah we aren’t to that point yet, but if we don't get donors to start giving blood we could be there soon.
She says they try to collect 450 units of blood every day. “To get back on track if we could do 10 Percent of what we normally do that would be very helpful,” says Wulf.
In an effort to avoid the potential shortage, Mike Cunningham says he is donating proudly. "I have a son who went through Primary Children’s and it was really amazing that having people donate their blood and help him out, and I just wanted to return the favor."
The American Red Cross says they are always looking for Type O Negative, the universal blood type that can be transferred to anyone in need of blood. However, the need doesn't stop there. Wulf says “Right now were looking for O Neg, O Pos, A Neg and B Neg because Rh Negatives are a little more difficult and were also looking for platelet donors.”
Wulf says one common misconception people tend to have is the shelf life of blood. "We can't stock pile blood. So red cells are only good for 42 days which seems like a lot of time, but it's not, it goes very fast, and platelets are only good for 5 days"
The American Red Cross encourages donors to make an appointment. Those interested in donating must be at least 17 years old, 16 with parental consent, weigh at least 110 pounds and in general good health. For more information call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org