South Texas Blood & Tissue: patients are facing critical shortages
For cancer patients, spring break is different.
While others are hitting the beaches or heading to theme parks, people like William Daugherty are needing blood transfusions as part of treatment for cancer.
And that need doesn’t go away just because there aren’t any blood drives at schools or colleges, which make up 25% of donations with South Texas Blood & Tissue. The decline in blood drives during spring break comes at a time when supplies already are critically low – less than one day’s supply, in some cases.
A transfusion gives him “this new energy and this newness in your body because it’s deprived,” and helps him prepare for his next round of chemo, said Daugherty, who is a teacher and cheerleader coach battling stage 4 lymphoma.
Cancer patients receive more than a quarter of blood transfusions every year, the single largest percentage according to a report by America’s Blood Centers.
In addition, with a return to pre-pandemic travel levels in 2023, the potential for automobile accidents will rise dramatically. A single trauma patient from a vehicle wreck can use up to 50 units of blood, quickly depleting a typical hospital’s supply. This potential rises exponentially during periods of high travel, such as Spring Break.
Even in non-emergency cases, the shortage of blood can be life-threatening. The average transfusion in the United States is 2.6 units.
“As we enjoy the spring break, let’s not forget that the need for blood never takes a vacation. By donating locally, we can make a significant impact on our community and help ensure that lifesaving blood is available when and where it’s needed the most,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Chief Operating Officer, South Texas Blood & Tissue. “It could be your loved-one, friend or neighbor that needs your help! Let’s seize the urgency to give, and make a meaningful difference in someone’s life.”
Donors can make an appointment with South Texas Blood & Tissue by calling 210-731-5590 or visiting SouthTexasBlood.org. Same-day appointments and walk-ins are available at the center’s nine donor rooms across South Texas, as well as at community blood drives. Blood donors need to be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and in generally good health.