American Red Cross encourages blood donations amid nationwide shortage

ByJasmine Minor WLS logo
Friday, September 22, 2023
Red Cross encourages blood donations amid nationwide shortage
Can I donate blood? The American Red Cross needs donations for sickle cell patients and others amid a nationwide blood shortage.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Major blood suppliers, including the American Red Cross, have been warning about the potential need to ration their blood supply.

The Red Cross said they normally have 12,500 units of blood every day. Since August, that number has dwindled down 25%.

"Pain has caused me multiple hospitalization and, you know, I kind of miss work, miss school, miss life with my family in general," said Beverly Chukwudozie, who is living with sickle cell disease.

A blood transfusion is the difference between time in the hospital and time with living her life.

"Your blood might be just what that person needs to survive," Chukwudozie said.

Chukwudozie is one of many patients who rely on blood donations for that survival.

"Hospitals could start to cancel elective surgeries or certain procedures, or put them off. So, we don't want to get to that point," said Red Cross Spokesperson Joy Squier.

Squier said 62% of the population is eligible to donate blood, yet only about 3% do it. The Red Cross said they were short 30,000 units in August. But, the organization has been dealing with a shortage since May, and it has put the blood supply in a delicate state.

"I think people think giving blood is this big scary thing. It's really not," said blood donor Alex Dawson.

Dawson said she has been giving blood since she was 16. And, across from her, Chris Bourg said he's trying to diversify what's given.

"I give platelets because with the few people who are able to actually donate blood, there's even fewer who are able to actually donate platelets," Bourg said.

The Red Cross said not only do they need more people like him to give, but also, different types of people. For example, the Red Cross said less than 4% of Black people are giving blood. That's something that is crucial in a case like Chukwudozie's.

"I always say a prayer when I get blood donation," Chukwudozie said. "A blood donation is a gift that keeps on giving."

You can sign up to donate at, download the Red Cross blood donor app or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to make an appointment to donate blood.