Central Florida calls on blood donors to help tackle nationwide blood crisis

OneBlood representative says it’s important to be proactive about donating

SANFORD, Fla. – During a OneBlood drive in Sanford, Hager Bagger-Stevens was happy to become a first-time blood donor.

“I’m feeling great,” the 49-year-old said. “It’s smooth, very smooth. It’s a process. No problem at all.”

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She told News 6 it’s her way of giving back to the community.

“It’s something that’s gonna help someone and you might even be able to help someone in your family, you never know,” Bagger-Stevens said. “Just never really crossed my mind to donate blood but now there’s a lot of things that’s going on, and I see a lot of sickness and people that need blood.”

She’s among the donors making a difference during a time where hospitals nationwide are experiencing a blood supply shortage.

“There’s never a day in our community where blood isn’t needed. Every day in every hospital in our area, blood is being used to help save patients’ lives. Blood donors are really those unsung heroes in our communities,” said Susan Forbes, vice president of corporate communications for OneBlood said.

According to OneBlood, the surge in COVID-19 cases is further impacting the blood supply because donors are being impacted by the virus. But it’s not just the effects of the pandemic.

“Everybody doesn’t donate, unfortunately, when so many people are eligible to do it. It’s about breaking through barriers of misconceptions for some people. Some people may not feel comfortable donating during the pandemic,” Forbes said. “All blood types are needed but O-negative is that universal red blood cell donor meaning it can go to any patient regardless of the recipient’s blood type. So it’s used in a lot in trauma situations to help trauma patients.”

OneBlood said the key to a sustainable blood supply is for donors to continue doing so every time they are eligible, which is 56 days after a donation.

“Patients receiving blood today are receiving blood from people who donated two days ago so this is why you have to constantly be replenishing the blood supply. Don’t wait for a tragedy to donate,” Forbes said. “We’ve seen that happen in the past where there’s a mass tragedy and people turn out to donate in large numbers and they are playing a huge role in helping replenish the blood supply but it’s about being proactive.”

For more information on donating blood with OneBlood, click here.

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.