Nonprofit calls for more donors as trio of respiratory illnesses impact blood supply


WSMV's Justina Latimer reports.
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 7:12 PM CST
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) - As many celebrate Giving Tuesday, one nonprofit is hoping people will make a difference in the lives of others by donating blood.

Currently hospitals are busy with cases of flu, RSV and COVID. As people continue to get sick, blood banks are also seeing the impact.

“Typically, we have quite a few donors coming through here, but lately in the last few weeks it has dropped drastically,” Stephanie McGraw, team leader with Blood Assurance, said.

McGraw works at the Franklin facility. She said before the decrease in donations, they saw anywhere from 10-15 donors a day.

“We’ve been on the phone calling our donors and trying to bring them back,” McGraw said. “I don’t know if it’s just the holidays that are causing people to be busier.”

Blood Assurance officials said the trio of respiratory illnesses is to blame for the decrease in blood donors in Middle Tennessee.

“This is a dire situation we are in. It’s not even winter yet and I think unfortunately things could get worse before they get better,” Blood Assurance Media Relations Coordinator Max Winitz said.

With employees calling out sick, multiple mobile blood drives are being canceled at businesses. The nonprofit also noticed fewer donors at donation centers due to people postponing or canceling.

“As far as units go, with O-positive, we like to have about 750 units on hand. This morning we had fewer than 100. O-positive is vital for hospitals and so is O-negative,” Winitz said.

They are calling on healthy donors to come in and give the gift of life.

“It’s a positive environment and people are surprised by how easy it is, way better than they ever thought,” McGraw said.

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