Red Cross seeking blood donors after pandemic affects donations

Blood donations have been impacted by the pandemic. The Red Cross is hoping more people roll up their sleeves to help save lives.

"Hopefully, she thinks this is a good thing," said Michael Greenberg. 

For the past two years, he has hosted a blood drive along with the American Red Cross to help others and in memory of his wife Alison Burns-Greenberg. 

"She was 17 days before her 40th birthday. She passed away September 1, 2019, from Leukemia," said Michael. It was about a year and half from the time doctors diagnosed Alison to the time she passed away. 

"It was tough on her. It was really tough. It hit really fast," he said. Talking to Michael outside his Warminster home he says it was during that time he realized how important blood donations are to people battling sickness and disease. 

Between chemo, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant he says there were periods of time she needed blood every day. 

"Sometimes she needed three pints of blood and like two units of platelets, but it was from morning to night. Without people who donated blood she wouldn’t have been here as long as she was," said Michael. 

The Red Cross says people like Alison who have cancer are the number one users of blood donations. Donations they say have slowed with the pandemic. 

"In the beginning we saw a decrease," said Guy Triano. He’s the Regional CEO of the Southeastern Pennsylvania American Red Cross. I talked to him at this blood drive in Bristol. 

"It’s 100% safe to donate blood," said Triano. There is a push to get people back out to roll up their sleeves. 

Officials are asking you to schedule an appointment to help with social distancing and there's some misinformation to clear up. 

Starting with, you can't donate blood if you're not vaccinated. Triano says that’s false. 

"For unvaccinated donors we’re asking them to wear a mask at blood drives and it’s very safe and secure," he said. You can donate after being vaccinated. That’s true. 

"If you’re vaccinated and you know the manufacturer of the vaccination you are in most cases eligible to donate," said Triano. 

The pandemic should not stop you from donating. 

"If you’re feeling well that day come out to the blood drive and donate. We go through a series of history and questions in our history area to make sure the donor is feeling well," said Triano. And while re-opening means more people getting out as people begin to travel there's a concern donation will continue to decrease. 

"A special incentive that we're doing right now through June all presenting donors get a limited-edition tee-shirt," said Triano. Meanwhile Michael in memory of his wife says he will continue to do his part hosting blood drives each year to continue to help those in need. 

"It’s just something hopefully I’ll be able to do for a long time. I hope it grows," said he said. 



SUBSCRIBE: Good Day Digest Newsletter | FOX 29 Philly on YouTube

FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter