Gift cards being offered to donors as blood shortage grows urgent

Each week in October, 10,000 blood and plasma donations are needed just to meet hospital and patient needs.
Blood donations
Posted at 9:21 AM, Oct 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-04 10:21:12-04

MILWAUKEE — The Red Cross wants you to make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible.

They say a national blood shortage is becoming more urgent. Each week in October, 10,000 blood and plasma donations are needed just to meet hospital and patient needs.

Now an incentive is being offered in hopes it encourages you to stop at a local blood drive. Keep reading to learn how to receive a $15 gift card.

Right now, donors of all blood types are needed, especially Type O, because it's the universal blood type.

Michelle Mueller gives blood at least four times a year. She happens to be Type O, but that's not the reason she donates.

"I started working at Aurora West Allis Medical Center about 18 years ago," said Mueller.

Like many workplaces, her employer offered occasional blood drives.

"So if you had downtime when you were seeing patients — then we would run and donate blood," she continued.

But after the birth of her twin daughters, Mueller became a blood recipient.

"The labor progressed really rapidly," she recalled. "So right after they were born I had a post postpartum hemorrhage."

She needed a blood transfusion. And since then, she has made it a priority to donate frequently.

"I was happy to be able to help someone, in some way, because there are not always a lot of ways you can help people," said Mueller.

When blood and platelet reserves drop to critical levels, hospitals and patients who might require large quantities of blood become vulnerable.

Most people give one pint or a unit of blood when they donate. Someone involved in a car crash can use as many as 100 units of blood.

Mueller wants future donors to know, it's easy to find the time.

"I try to go at work or around the community when I can fit it in, it's easy to schedule any day of the week — so it's pretty convenient."

If you donate blood anytime between now and Oct. 20, the Red Cross will give you a $15 Amazon gift card.

The Red Cross offers three ways you can make a donation appointment and help save lives:

The Red Cross says in late summer the national blood supply dropped by about 25% on the heels of an active natural disaster season, record summer travel, and the beginning of back-to-school activities. All things that led to fewer people donating blood.
On top of that, a unique challenge remains as many people have shifted to work-from-home routines. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 800,000 blood donations were collected at blood drives hosted by businesses. Last year, that number dropped to 500,000.