Red Cross plea: Blood donations needed now more than ever

- There’s a plea from the American Red Cross to get out and donate blood. It’s needed now more than ever.

Blood donations are often slow during the summer months, but this summer the supply is at critical levels and hospitals need help.

From start to finish, it takes about an hour. It’s a small time commitment for the opportunity to make big difference.

“You just feel powerless sometimes in your life to make a change or contribute or do something. This was that chance to do something,” said blood donor Joe Halliday.

Like so many others, Halliday watched the tragedies unfold first in Orlando and then again in Dallas, and wondered what he could do.

An email, suggesting a blood donation, seemed like a good answer, especially given the violent year we've seen ourselves in Chicago.

The 40 minute drive to the Red Cross' blood center Thursday afternoon was the least he could do.

“I wanted to come closer to where, I read about all the shootings and I don't know if my blood would make a b-line to Stroger, but if it did that would be fine,” Halliday said.

The Red Cross says blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs over the past several months, and they've seen about 40-thousand fewer donations than what's needed.

It’s another tragedy, and hospitals could be left scrambling for supplies that just aren't there.

“I think that it just emphasizes that the need for blood is constant and that you always wanna be prepared. You never know what's going to happen. That’s what the Red Cross is all about, being ready when the time comes,” said Celena Roldan, CEO of American Red Cross Chicago.

And take it from someone who's been there, with plans to come back, you'll be glad you stopped by.

“I feel more powerful,” Halliday said.

The Red Cross has an app you can download that tells you where to find the nearest donation location. You can fill out the necessary paperwork and even find out where your blood is going.

There’s another blood drive planned for August 15th at Brookfield Zoo. Also, signing up to give blood that day gets you in to the zoo for free.

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