Blood donations at Chicago drive can help with Illinois Red Cross shortage

Blood, platelet donations needed for trauma, sickle cell patients

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, January 9, 2022
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood or platelets, sometimes both. That's according to the American Red Cross.

More than 38,000 blood donations are needed each day. Each of those can potentially save up to three lives.

But with just over a third of the U.S. population eligible to give blood, making all of those numbers work is sometimes very difficult. And right now there's a severe blood shortage in the Chicago area and across the country.

Celena Roldan, the CEO of the Illinois Red Cross said they're seeing some of the lowest levels of blood donations in 10 years.

WATCH: Our Chicago: The Great Chicago Blood Drive Part 1

And she explained some of the reasons behind that.

"One of the primary reasons we know that is happening is because of the coronavirus pandemic and individuals who have been sick and no longer able to donate. And we also just, during the winter months, we already see flu and other types of illnesses, people are not able to donate," Roldan said.

Roldan said she understands that blood donations aren't front of mind for people with all that's going on right now.

SEE MORE: The ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive

"Typically the American Red Cross has a five-day supply on-hand, and we're looking at approximately a one-day supply," said Roldan.

That blood is needed for some patients being treated for cancer, people injured in car crashes or those who have experienced some other trauma.

Another group of people who rely on blood donations is the more than 80,000 Americans with sickle cell disease, a chronic and sometimes painful blood disorder.

WATCH: Our Chicago: The Great Chicago Blood Drive Part 2

Lyric Porter is one of them. She currently needs transfusions every three to four weeks, and she receives six to eight units at a time. She said those transfusions affect her livelihood.

"It affects the livelihood of my family and friends as well because if I'm not feeling well then they kind of cater their needs to me. And they might not plan to take that trip they had been wanting to take because they know that I'm ill, and I might not be able to attend," Porter said.

You can help by taking part in the Great Chicago Blood Drive on Wednesday and Thursday. There are five different locations in the city, suburbs and Northwest Indiana. Appointments are encouraged.

Make yours now at, sponsor code, ABC7Chicago.