The American Red Cross, across the nation as well as in the Midwest, has received an overwhelming response from the public to help with blood donations and patients in need.
Since last Tuesday’s attacks, the Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross collected more than 10,828 volunteer blood donations.
The Red Cross estimates that nearly 50 percent of the donations were from first-time blood donors. During an average week, about 15 percent of blood donations are from first-time donors.
Mark Shields, an employee at the Blood Services Region of the Red Cross in Madison, said that the public support has been greatly appreciated.
“It’s just been incredible, the support that people have given to the blood supply,” Shields said. “And there are donations still coming in.”
The regional Red Cross estimated it had received more than 11,000 phone calls since last Tuesday from people wanting to give blood. From June 14 to August 17 of this year, the Red Cross received 4,527 calls.
Many donors have been University of Wisconsin-Madison students who said they wanted to help in some way.
“Being so far from the situation, it’s easy to feel helpless, but this was one way I was sure I could help,” UW senior Tomei Reif said.
Throughout the region the Red Cross has also received more than 500 requests for blood drives. Some were from people who regularly schedule drives and others from those who had never sponsored a blood drive before but wanted to help.
Public confusion and questions about the need for blood persist. The Red Cross is encouraging people to maintain momentum in their donations.
Blood will still be needed in weeks and months to come.
Shields said he is thankful for the many blood donations, and hopes they will continue.
“I extend a huge thank-you to those who have donated, and [I] encourage people to keep donating as I always do,” he said. “I encourage everyone to give life.”
Some of the blood will be used immediately by patients, and remaining units will be frozen for future patient use as part of a strategic national reserve.
People who have already made appointments for the coming days and weeks are encouraged to keep them.
The American Red Cross is maintaining the nation’s blood supply and is committed to meeting the needs of patients by having a readily available blood supply that is as safe as possible.
To make an appointment to donate blood, volunteers should call 1-800-GIVE LIFE.
Most people who are at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and are in general good health are eligible to give blood.
Anyone who is unable to give blood is encouraged to volunteer at blood drives.
To make a monetary contribution to the Red Cross, call 1-800-HELP NOW.