BERLIN – Maryland has established its own Blood Donation Day as national shortages reach dangerous levels.
The state has taken its lead from Dr. Daliah Wachs, a radio personality, professor and physician who has worked with the American Red Cross, United Blood Service and blood banks to create a National Blood Donation Week from Sept. 4 to Sept. 10.
Gov. Larry Hogan, along with 22 other states, has drafted a proclamation to encourage donation events and drives that coincide with National Blood Donation Week.
Maryland’s Blood Donation Day will take place Sept. 10.
As summer comes to a close, there is a shortage of school blood drives and donations. Yet trauma cases, disasters, cancer and other needs for blood continue to deplete medical center and hospital inventories, according to the National Blood Donation Week website.
“Low blood supply is a public safety concern both locally and nationally, and our hospitals and medical centers need to sustain a healthy supply for our residents and visitors,” Hogan says in the proclamation.
Michael Waite, Blood Bank of Delmarva Director of Marketing and Community Relations, says 45 percent of people are able to donate, but only 10 percent do so.
To keep up with demands, the Blood Bank needs 350 donors a day to serve its facilities.
“There is no scientific substitute for human blood,” Waite says. “That is why it is critically important to donate.”
Although shortages have continued throughout the summer, travelling and new health restrictions have made it harder to acquire new blood donations.
With the ongoing Zika virus, those travelling to exposed areas can defer donations for 30 days after returning.
Yet, misunderstandings and busy schedules discourage people from coming back for longer periods of time, Waite says, creating larger needs for blood donation.
For convenience, the Blood Bank of Delmarva will stay open Labor Day for platelet donations.
These donations will then be screened and used around the region and within Delmarva’s 18 facilities the Blood Bank serves.
Anyone who meets the requirements can donate blood every 56 days, according to the Blood Bank. Those with no health issues or concerns can donate three to four times each year.
This equates to three saved lives for every pint donated.
“National Blood Donation Day effectively serves to remind us that we need to replenish our blood supply through donations and community awareness,” says Hogan in the proclamation.
Wachs’ National Blood Donation Week campaign is currently looking for businesses, organizations, religious groups and schools to host these events.
The Blood Bank of Delmarva has currently listed the Ocean Pines Library and Frank M. Jarman American Legion Post 36 in Chestertown, Md., as locations for upcoming blood drives.
Times and dates are listed on Wachs’ website under “National Blood Donation Day”.
To donate at the Blood Bank, visit donate.bbd.org, or call 1-888-8BLOOD8.