American Red Cross issues emergency

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-The American Red Cross needs the publics help to continue helping others.

The Red Cross blood supply has reached emergency status.

They currently have 50,000 fewer donations the month of June than expected.

This shortage means the Red Cross has only half the blood products on hand this year compared to last year.

Donor Services with the American Red Cross, Bob Draper, says this is a problem across the country.

"The American Red Cross," Draper said. "Nationwide, is faced with a blood shortage. In other words, we are 50,000 units below our expectations with the summer and the holidays and everything that's coming on."

Draper says this huge shortage is what sprung them into action with issuing the emergency to the public.

"We are asking people with this appeal to come out and help us to rebuild the blood supply," Draper said. "We are 50,000 units below our expectations and serving the hospitals in our areas."

One of the blood drives that took place on Wednesday was at Nice Pak.

The company opened it's doors and invited the public to come out and join them in rolling up their sleeves from one to six.

Senior Director of Operations for Nice Pak, Brad Zenko, says being able to help someone is a great feeling.

"You can throw a couple of dollars in a bucket," Zenko said. "But when you're giving your blood and you know it's going to help someone directly and in pretty short order, it is pretty satisfying."

Draper says it takes at least two days to process one unit of blood and the need in Region 8 is large.

"We need," Draper said. "In our region, to draw 400 pints of blood a day and to serve the hospitals. So, for us, in order where we have had other regions to send blood to help us, we now are relying on our donors in our area to roll up their sleeves. The situation is very critical."

Zenko says he's proud of Nice Pak employees and encourages everyone to do what they can to help.

"It's easy to do," Zenko said. "It's lifesaving in every account and the need is always there."

Draper says The American Red Cross needs all blood types, especially Os.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion.

For more information about the American Red Cross, log onto their website.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.