SU blood drive helps to address national shortage

SU blood drive asks for donors during shortage

Blood donations are critically needed right now as the Red Cross faces major shortage.
Published: January 26, 2022
Student Prepping for Blood Donation at Schine Center 1/26
Sophomore Katherine Peacock is being prepped for her blood draw.

Members of the Syracuse University community lined up to assist the American Red Cross after asking for the public’s help in addressing their worst national blood shortage in over a decade.

A drop in the number of blood drives and fewer people donating blood due to the pandemic has forced doctors to make difficult decisions regarding who is able to receive blood transfusions, creating obstacles to patient care. The Red Cross is urging people who are eligible to donate.

According to the Red Cross, which supplies over 40% of the nation’s blood supply, the organization has been forced to limit the number of blood distributions to hospitals, sometimes having less than a one-day supply of critical blood types in recent weeks. There have been times when nearly one in every four hospitals has not been able to receive the blood needed for patient care.

Red Cross supervisor Jennifer Munger said the need for blood is dire, but appointments for individuals to donate blood are filling up quickly. Munger encouraged those who can give blood to do so in the coming weeks. At Wednesday’s event in the Schine Student Center, donors were ready and willing to do their part.

“I’ve been donating whenever I can,” said SU sophomore Katherine Peacock, who has been a blood donor for more than a year and says that she likes to help as much as possible. “It’s really helpful that they come here since I don’t have a car. I like how convenient it is.”

Blood Donor
A Red Cross technician helps a donor.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, there has been a 10% overall drop in the number of donations made and a whopping 62% drop in the number of college and high school drives. In 2019, more than 25% of donors were students, compared to less than 10% during the pandemic.

Patricia, who requested that her last name not be used, said that she and her friend donate together regularly.

“This is my first time donating since I had COVID,” said Patricia, a mother of six. She has been donating blood for several years now and said she was hesitant to come in. “I wasn’t sure at one point if I would still be able to donate, but now I’m more comfortable with doing so.”

The Red Cross is asking that individuals with all blood types, but especially those who are Type O, make an appointment to donate. They are also seeking volunteers to assist at blood drives and help transport materials to hospitals in need.

Eileen Saganey, a recent graduate of the Whitman School and a Red Cross volunteer, encouraged those who are hesitant to seriously consider making a donation.

“It’s not as scary as you may think, and it’s especially important during this time,” said Saganey. “I would encourage more students to donate if they can.”

To help boost donations, the Red Cross has teamed up with the NFL during the month of January. Eligible donors who donate through Jan. 31 will be entered for a chance to win two tickets to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.

The Red Cross will be hosting two more blood drives in the Schine Student Center on Feb. 6 and 9 and at various locations throughout the Greater Syracuse area. You can make an appointment to give blood online through the Red Cross Blood Donor app, through the Red Cross website, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.