Scrolling through Facebook, reading a book, or responding to emails – Blue Springs resident Paula Jackson regularly catches up on these simple tasks while donating blood.
She describes blood donation as “not scary, but easy” and has been giving with her mother, a nurse, since the age of 16. Unlike Jackson, however, many donors scale back their visits to the Community Blood Center come summertime. In fact, Blue Springs center manager Ben McFerron estimates that donations take a 30 percent dip in June.
This has a national impact. Last summer, the American Red Cross issued an emergency call for donations, reporting 61,000 fewer than needed.
“People are on vacation, they’re busy doing things that they can’t do during the cooler weather. We never feel like we have enough,” McFerron said. “When we’ve had tragedies throughout the country, we like to be able to send blood out, but we need to be able to take care of our community first.”
This community need can emerge suddenly and often. According to the Red Cross, just one car accident victim can need 100 pints of blood. For comparison, donors give about one pint of blood with each visit.
The lack of blood inspired the Missing Types campaign, which saw the disappearance of letters A, B and O from American Red Cross logos, social media and websites.
The message? Donations of blood types A, B and O have become increasingly rare and must be given more often so they don’t disappear entirely.
“If everybody donated just once more than they currently donate, we wouldn’t see this critical need,” McFerron said.
He added that giving usually takes around 45 minutes, and that people with an hour lunch break can donate in this time.
For Jackson, contributing is more than just a choice. It’s a responsibility.
“I feel obligated to help as much as I can, as long as I can, because I know at some point I’m going to need it,” she shared.
The Kansas City Donor Center is at 4040 Main St. The Blue Springs Donor Center is at 1124 Southwest U.S. 40. Call 1-877-468-6844 to schedule an appointment. To make sure you are eligible for donation, visit http://savealifenow.org/donate-blood/donation-process/medical-eligibility/.