MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Central Appalachia Region American Red Cross held a blood drive on Friday, June 18, to help to mitigate the current blood shortage.

Executive Director of the local Red Cross, Jason Keeling, said the blood shortage is, in part, due to the COVID-1 9 pandemic subsiding.

Jason Keeling

The Red Cross is experiencing a blood shortage, and that’s because of an increase in trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries. You know, now that the COVID-19 shutdown is subsiding, a lot of surgeries, elective in nature, are being — are starting to become online. That also increases the need for blood. We’re seeing an increase in trauma cases. Combine these situations with the summer season, where, traditionally, schools are out, and people are on vacation, so we have a greater need for someone who hasn’t donated to consider or those that have not donated for several months to come back in and give lifesaving blood.

Jason Keeling – Executive Director

The shelf life of a unit of blood is “very short”, Keeling said, but the demand is high. That is why he said he was impressed with everyone who took the chance to donate on Friday.

One of those people was Gerald Guerrero. He said he donated because it’s a way to help people and he thinks it’s important to do so.

Guerrero has been donating blood since he was about 20-years-old and he started in his native country, The Philippines. He, too, said others should step up and donate.

Guerrero donating blood on Friday

“Keep on donating blood and help save lives,” Guerrero said.

If you would like to donate, Keeling said to visit the American Red Cross website and to download the blood donor app.

That way, he said, potential donors can know where local drives are happening and can schedule donating easily. Once you are all set to donate, the whole process is simple.

“It’s, really, just a matter of getting signed up,” Keeling said. “I mean, there are some health history-type questions. “We want to make sure that a donor is healthy and in a situation where they’re able to give blood and not compromise, you know, their own system, if you will. But it is a straightforward process.”

Blood Drive sign

 Once an individual has donated, their single donation can be far reaching and even save lives, Keeling said.

“One donation can help in a variety of ways,” he said. “Depending on an individual’s blood makeup that might be able to be used for trauma, for actually helping people who are hemorrhaging in a trauma situation. It could be helping cancer patients. It might be helping those that are having elective surgeries. There are really a variety of ways that you know each unit can help.”

If you would like to donate, visit the American Red Cross donor website and or download the donor app on your smartphone.