Red Cross Experiencing Low Levels Of Blood Donations

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Friday, July 29, 2011

The local Red Cross needs at least 500 people to give blood and 40 people to give platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand in Kansas.

That was one reason why Doug Hodgens came out to donate on Friday.

"I've seen how important it is for her, for kids that are going through cancer," said Hodgens.

It is Doug's 9-year-old daughter's battle with cancer that inspired him to come out and donate platelets.

"The last thing that you want to worry about as a parent, 'Is there going to be blood for when my kid needs it?' Every kid that's going through cancer, at some point, most of them need blood and sometimes they need a lot of blood like my daughter has," said Hodgens.

His daughter, Makayla, has had nearly 20 blood transfusions since being diagnosed with Leukemia in January. Last week, Makayla needed platelets that help with blood clotting, but there were none matching in Wichita.

"When my daughter needs blood, I expect for it to be there. I was shocked that living in America, that we didn't have any or there was none here locally," said Hodgens.

The local Red Cross expects a lower supply in blood during the summer travel months but they said they are experiencing levels that are hitting the lowest in a dozen years.

"We need people now to come in and give so there isn't a shortage (of platelets). Right now, we're not having a shortage. Surgeons aren't having to cancel surgeries. But we could be at that point if we don't get more people coming in to give," said Jennifer Keller, Red Cross Blood Services, communications manager.

Regular platelet donors don't mind the two-hour long process, especially when they know that within five days, their platelets will be used to help save lives.

"One time that I wasn't able to give very long and I was so disappointed and she said well, 'I think we have enough for a baby.' And that really made me feel good," said Charlotte Kraft, platelet donor.

There are two Red Cross locations in Kansas that collect platelets, Wichita and Salina.

If you want to learn more about blood or platelet donations, call (316) 268-0875.

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