Did You Know There is a Nationwide Blood Shortage?

Did You Know There is a Nationwide Blood Shortage?

Last year, one of my son’s friends needed a blood transfusion, and my son’s school had reached out to all the parents with information letting everyone know about the blood drive the family was having in her honor. My son came home with a million questions regarding it. What did it mean? How did they do it? Why did they do it? He wanted to know everything. He already knew Kayla was sick and had been since he was a baby (she was a few years older than him, and they had been friends since he was very small). So naturally, he wanted to know all the details so that he could decide how he (we) could help too. His little heart is just so beautiful. I always encourage conversation when he shows me just how much his little heart can expand.

To donate blood in Louisiana

To donate blood in Louisiana you must be a healthy individual, of at least 17 years weigh at least 110 pounds. 16-year-olds may donate as long as they weigh at least 130 pounds and have signed parental consent. After I explained that he couldn’t give blood yet himself, he asked if I was going too. After swallowing back some tears, I said “absolutely.” I had given blood a few times before, but never for a person that I had known. It changes things because it makes it personal.

I went to the designated website and registered as a donor.

Do you know your blood type? 

As it turns out, while donating blood for Kayla, I learned that due to the pandemic, there was a nationwide blood shortage. I also learned what my blood type was and that I could donate every 2-months. Do you know your blood type? To be honest, I didn’t know before now.

When I started talking about my experiences with friends and family members there were three common themes that I heard: 1) that very few knew their blood type off the top of their head 2) no one seemed to know about a blood shortage and 3) they didn’t know where they could even donate blood – so, I decided to do my part in sharing the basics.

Maybe if our kiddos see us doing it and hear us talking about it – by the time they reach the designated age it will be well ingrained, and we can help save so many more lives together!

My blood type is O positive, which is very common, and apparently always needed!

The Blood Center, founded in 1960, is the primary supplier of blood, blood components, and plasma derivatives to local hospitals throughout South Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. This year I have visited the mobile donation truck as well as their office on Edenborn Street in Metairie a few times. Now that I am registered online, I get a friendly reminder whenever my 2-month waiting period is up and get on the schedule immediately.

It’s my understanding that once you are registered and your blood type is registered in their system after your first donation – if there is ever a dire need for your type, they will call you personally and ask you to help!

It really doesn’t take that much time; I’d say you will be in and out in 30 minutes. There is a brief survey that you can take online before you arrive.

Each pint of blood donated can help save up to 3 lives.

Each pint of blood donated can help save up to 3 lives. And now I’m going to intentionally repeat this sentence. Each pint of blood donated can help save up to 3 lives. Maybe now say it out loud? Each pint of blood donated can help save up to 3 lives. If you donate blood just a few times every year, think about how many lives you can save over the course of your own.

According to the American Red Cross “maintaining diversity in the blood supply is essential. Some blood types are quite rare and are likeliest to be found among people with shared ancestral origins.” This means that it’s going to take the whole village to get us back on track but I believe it’s possible if we do it, together.

And there are incentives all along the way, every single time you donate. I’ve received t-shirts, and coupons for free ice cream and you can even choose to give up your incentive and have The Blood Center donate the cash equivalent to aid Ukraine!

Not to mention the nurses on staff are just delightful. I have really been enjoying these experiences. It makes me feel really very good about helping others in need! I make sure to tell my kiddo every time I’m going so that he gets used to hearing it and it becomes a normal thing for him to be more open to doing within his lifetime.

Isn’t it funny how that one conversation with the kiddo turned into such a beautiful gift of saving lives?

I hope that those reading this article take a few minutes to think about donating. There are members of our community in need, and we have the power to help out in such a small way.


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