By Trae Harris and Hannah Mose
FLINT, Michigan (WNEM) — January marks National Blood Donor Month, and the American Red Cross said donors of all types are urgently needed.
“Until you try, you don’t know that it’ll be uncomfortable or impossible,” said John Kaloydis.
Kaloydis made 18 platelet donations to the local Red Cross in Flint in 2023 alone.
He credits good health and a lack of needed transfusions himself over the years as a reason why he’s passionate about donating, which is something he’s been doing routinely for over the past 20 years.
“It’s good to give back and anybody can attempt. If people have not been able to donate or try to donate, it’s real simple,” he said.
He praised Red Cross staff for their professionalism, friendliness, and help.
Over his many years of donating, Kaloydis has donated well over 600 units of blood.
With the Red Cross facing a blood shortage and seeing blood donor participation drop by 40 percent over the past 20 years, the Red Cross is hoping to find more people like him.
“Every two seconds, someone in America needs lifesaving blood. And American Red Cross is — because of donors and the generosity of people who are willing to roll up their sleeves, we can answer the need,” said Becky Gaskin, Flint’s Red Cross executive director.
She emphasized how important it is to have donors of whole blood and platelets.
“When you donate blood, that’s going to a patient in need within days,” Gaskin said. “That’s so important that there’s that continuous donation of blood because the need is constant.”
Platelets are the clotting portion of blood, while whole blood donations focus on patients in constant need of blood.
Gaskin said there was a shortfall of 7,000 blood units nationally just between the holidays, so both blood and platelets are urgently needed by the Red Cross.
“We want to make sure our hospitals are prepared to provide that lifesaving blood for people who have cancer, sickle cell disease or anyone who’s facing a traumatic emergency,” Gaskin said.
While the American Red Cross would like people to first think about making blood donations, the organization said you can also give back by being ambassadors or volunteering.
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