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The rise of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries requiring blood products has depleted the nation’s blood supply. U.S. patients require a total of 7,00 units of platelets and 36,000 units of red blood cells per day.
It has been reported that the shortage of blood in the U.S. is only a one day supply or less.
The summer began with a critical shortage, but that may change by the end of the summer.
The Chrisman American Legion hosted their first blood drive with Impact Life on Wednesday, July 14th. The organization is non-for-profit and helps one hundred and twenty hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. What sets them apart from the Red Cross is Impact Life has contracts with the surrounding hospitals. This means any blood donated through them goes to local hospitals in need, not all over the United States.
Stan Richardson has been doing blood drives for twenty-five years and hopes to expand, having two blood drives a year. One in the summer and one in the late fall, early winter.
“This is old hat for me, I’ve been doing it for a long time. I think it’s a worthy cause. It’s part of the Legion’s obligation to help people and give blood that saves lives,” Richardson said. “This time of year, it’s pretty critical to give blood. I’m just tickled to death that our Legion is getting behind blood drives and all members are very supportive and think it’s a great idea.”
Many Legion members attended the blood drive. A total of twelve donations were scheduled, but with walk-ins, the drive surpassed that.
Sons of the American Legion member, Mark Wyatt, has given blood many times and donated to this event.
“I’ve done quite a bit. This organization did the FFA Blood Drive and I’ve done it there and with the Red Cross. Last time I gave was in January. I gave at the Paris Hospital,” Wyatt said.
Impact Life was founded in 1974 with its main location being in Davenport, Iowa. It was established to give the concept of shared blood services to life in the Quad Cities region. Founders helped the community work together towards the common goal of a safe plentiful supply of blood for patients in local hospitals.
Impact Life has aided in such events as the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. The organization shipped over 120 units of blood to Boston. In 2020, the disaster plan was activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Blood centers across the nation responded to almost daily changes to the blood supply and implemented a collection of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat those still fighting the infection.
If you would like to know more about Impact Life and find out how you can donate, please visit www.bloodcenter.org.