The Houchin Community Blood Bank held a blood drive at Real Life Church in Valencia Saturday, hoping to collect as much blood as possible amid a nationwide blood shortage.
According to the American Red Cross, there’s been a 10% overall drop in blood donations since 2020 with a 62% drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic.
“While the need for blood is constant, California, along with the rest of the nation, is experiencing the most severe blood shortage in the last 10 years,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health & Human Services Agency secretary, said in a January press statement. “Donating blood is not only essential to ensuring the health of our communities, it is truly a lifesaving resource for those who need it most, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer.”
Rachel Parlier, marketing director for Houchin, said that although attendance at the blood drive was low, they were trying everything they could to get people to come in.
“We’ve been standing on the corner trying to get people in, standing with some signs, and our blood drops have been walking around passing out flyers,” said Parlier. “So we’re hoping it will pick up for us a little bit.”
The event also featured several food trucks that would hopefully bring in the 80-person goal Houchin was aiming for.
Parlier said the most common blood type that’s needed is O, which is a universal blood type that can be transfused into almost anyone. This is why the demand for it is so high.
“We’re in need of mainly O blood types. So O positive and O negative. But we’re in need of all blood types right now. Inventory has been struggling to say the least the past few months, even past year.”
Representatives from Houchin said that although in some cases one blood donor could save the lives of three people, in situations where major blood transfusions are required (car crashes, trauma cases, cancer patients) it can take up to 25 people’s blood for one transfusion, which is why getting as many donors as possible to come in is so crucial to their operation.
“We still have traumas, we still have NICU, which NICU patients (babies)…get blood transfusions as well,” said Synthia Rocha, account manager for Houchin. “So there’s all these elements that are still very much here that we’re trying to supply because without the blood, these people that could have been saved with some blood transfusions that are not available now, it would be a different outcome.”
Parlier said that 52 people were able to donate blood at Saturday’s drive, which she said has the potential to save 120 lives.
To learn more about Houchin Community Blood Bank, its blood drives, or how to donate blood, visit https://bit.ly/38mGGtv.