Stepping up during blood shortage

After issuing an emergency call for blood and platelet donors in early July, the American Red Cross continues to face a severe blood shortage.

The American Red Cross continues to face a severe blood shortage despite issuing an emergency call for blood and platelet donors in early July, prompting a College of the Canyons student to organize her third blood drive in less than a year.

“I got involved because when I was 16-17 my grandpa was diagnosed with a really rare blood disorder,” organizer Melissa Hollinger said. “He received a ton of blood transfusion treatments, and I really appreciated those donors who gave me more time with my grandpa.”

Soon after the ordeal, Hollinger became a donor herself but found it wasn’t enough, she said. She then discovered the Leaders Save Lives Scholarship Program, which offers high school and college-aged students their own opportunity to host blood drives.

“A blood donation is needed every two seconds,” Hollinger said, “and a single-car accident victim can require 100 pints of blood depending on the emergency.”

Blood has to already be on the shelf, she added, but blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and right now there is less than a five-day blood supply on hand, according to American Red Cross officials.

Hollinger’s blood drive isn’t listed on the American Red Cross’ website, so those who are interested should contact her directly at 661-310-5063.

Anybody who is over the age of 16 can donate if they weigh over 110 pounds, and all blood types are needed, Hollinger said. The blood drive will occur from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 2 at the Henry Mayo Fitness and Health Center, 24525 Town Center Drive in Valencia.

“We will accept walk-ins but scheduling an appointment is best because it does take time off of the visit,” Hollinger said. Appointments always go first.

Hollinger is expecting about 30 people, she said, “and I personally contacted Chick-fil-A myself to work out vouchers for a Chick-fil-A sandwich, spicy chicken sandwich (or) chicken nuggets.”

The American Red Cross will also provide a $5 e-gift card good for purchases at to those who donate.

“The thing that’s most shocking is 38 percent of people are eligible to donate at any time but only less than 10 percent donate,” Hollinger said. She understands that a lot of people are scared but she always tries to remember how scared the patients who need to receive blood are.

“There’s no way you can be more scared of a needle than the patients who are undergoing the transfusion,” Hollinger said. “It’s one of the best ways to give back volunteering,” because it requires little to no commitment.

Giving blood takes an hour of your time before you’re done, Hollinger added. “Saving somebody’s life is the best way to volunteer in my opinion.”

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