Local Red Cross reports increased blood donation on World Blood Donor Day
Officials with the American Red Cross say the need for blood in the U.S. is becoming urgent. Macon branch Donor Recruitment Representative Kristen Kiefer says the Southeast region is especially susceptible to blood shortages, as the region regularly imports blood from other areas, but it's a trend she hopes to break with events like World Blood Donor Day, which took place Thursday.
"By the time we opened at eleven this morning, we had seen about nine people by eleven-thirty, which is great for us, that's more people than we would normally see in an entire day," Kiefer said.
During the event Kiefer says T-shirts are given to donors to help create more visibility, but they also relies on word of mouth spread by regular donors like Wesleyan College Professor Michael Muth.
"It feels pretty good, it's nice to know I can do something to help somebody," Muth said.
Muth and many others at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center donated platelets Thursday. Platelets are small cell fragments that help the blood clot. Many people with genetic disorders and those receiving cancer treatments don't have enough platelets in their blood to heal wounds when they are injured.
"People really need these things, and we can produce a lot of them. I'm producing more right now," Muth said.
Kiefer says the Southern region needs to collect 1,200 pints of blood a day to keep up with demand, which so far has been out of reach, but she says with increased visibility and donors like Muth, she's hopeful it can be accomplished.