American Red Cross calls for more blood donations as national shortage continues

A national shortage has caused blood supplies to drop to its lowest level in six years.

DETROIT – In this blood clinic -- aptly called Vampire’s Lair -- there is nothing to fear. One donation can save up to three people.

“We’re at an emergency blood shortage, so it’s really critical that anyone who can donate blood comes out,” said Meghan Lehman of the American Red Cross.

A national shortage has caused blood supplies to drop to its lowest level in six years.

“People need it everyday, every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion,” said Lehman.

Jim Finzel started donating after his wife was hospitalized with COVID.

“She used a lot of blood products in the hospital and I want to pay it forward,” Finzel said.

The Red Cross is now at a critical juncture. To date, 10,000 additional blood products are needed each week this month to meet hospital and patient needs. And the pandemic has impacted how many are willing to donate.

With the delta variant, its impact and we want people to know we follow CDC guidelines and it only takes about an hour,” said Lehman.

October happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Nearly a quarter of the blood supply is used for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, surgery or treatment.

“I lost a niece to cancer some time ago, and it has been my goal to give back as much as I can,” said Daniel Elessandrini, who donated blood.

Hoping to shore up supply, the Red Cross is holding blood drives across Metro Detroit for the next two weeks.

“It doesn’t hurt, it’s not costing you anything other than time, I’m right here watching movies I don’t know I’m giving blood at the moment,” said Finzel.

Elessandrini said what you’re giving back is worth anything you can endure.

Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Read: More blood donation coverage

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.