Virginia Blood Services is urging Virginians to help replenish an extremely low summer blood supply and asking eligible donors to visit any one of its area Community Donor Centers or mobile blood drives. “Summer is always a challenging time for blood collections,” says Virginia Blood Services Executive Director, Todd Cahill. “Maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply is our top priority. Currently, both local and national blood supplies are at significantly low levels.”
In order to ensure adequate blood supply to support treatment of patients, including those with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, patients undergoing organ transplants, and trauma victims, Virginia Blood Services notes it is crucial that donors come out and donate as often as possible, especially during July and August. As the need for blood increases during the summer, the number of blood donors significantly decreases, causing an area wide and often nation-wide blood shortage. Some of the larger blood drives that bring in more donors are held at area high schools and universities, which are closed or on reduced hours during the summer break.
Summer vacation travel schedules are another reason why blood donations plummet during July and August. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. But while national tragedies like the recent Orlando and Dallas shootings shine a light on the importance of blood donations, the fact is that approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. Additionally, more than 1.68 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2016. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.