There’s a critical shortage of life-saving blood donations

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 11:26 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Blood bank shelves are nearly empty, and patients are fighting for their lives.

Many of these patients rely on blood donations.

It’s not just a problem here, but also nationally, which means local health care providers aren’t able to request donations from out of town.

Last summer, Nancy Forbes was a victim of a random act of violence.

“I was driving down highway 1, on a Saturday morning, on my way to work, and um a man pulled up beside me and pulled out a gun and shot me three times,” said Forbes, gunshot victim and frequent blood donor.

It was a crime that landed her in Augusta University Health’s trauma center, needing operations calling for blood transfusions.

She says AU having blood available was vital to her care.

“Without the blood, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” said Forbes.

Right now, Shepeard Community Blood Center is in critical need of donors for both blood and platelets.

“There’s a lot of different reasons, why someone you care about or you yourself could need a blood or platelet transfusion and the scary thing is right now those products are not on our shelf,” said Ashley Whitaker director of community resources, for the blood bank.

Blood products are vital for cancer patients like 14-year-old Kennedy Martin.

“Since diagnosis, she has received over 20 platelet transfusions, over 30 blood transfusions, it’s probably at this point closer to 30 of each,” said Margaret Martin, mother of the cancer patient.

Kennedy was diagnosed in June of 2020.

Because of the pandemic, they worry about not having access to blood.

These shortages present a significant risk.

It’s a need the community can help meet for her family and so many more.

“It’s always a thought of ‘if they can’t get it, what does that mean for the life of my child,’” said Martin.

Shepeard Community Blood Center needs around 150 units daily to supply the amount they need.

The most critical need is for type O Positive and O Negative blood. They’re also hoping blood drives on AU’s Health Sciences campus next week will help.

Donors must be in good general health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be at least 17 years old (or 16 with written parental consent) to donate. Be sure to bring a photo ID or Shepeard donor card with you when you come to donate.

You can call for an appointment at 706-737-4551 or walk in to donate.

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