Experts in Mississippi say a drastic decline in blood donations this summer is negatively impacting the shortage from the beginning of the year. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports on the need for donations year round.
Experts in Mississippi say blood donations are critical for traumatic accidents, cancer treatments and people living with chronic illnesses such as sickle cell disease. Emily Austin is with Mississippi Blood Services. She says during the summer the organization relies on the community to make up for the majority of the donations that come from high schools. However, this summer they have been receiving fewer donations. Austin says the organization services around 50 hospitals throughout the state.
"In order to provide the hospitals with the blood that they need, we need to collect 250 to 300 units each and every day and that is statewide," said Austin. "So it's critically important that people donate year round not just at certain times of the year."
According to the American Red Cross, sickle cell patients can require blood transfusions throughout their lives.
Jeanne Tate with the Mississippi Sickle Cell Foundation says people living with the disease, like her, need blood to survive and have a pain free day. She says blood transfusions help with the excruciating and unpredictable pain.
"Most of our patients has to have monthly transfusions that means that they have to have blood just to not be in constant pain," said Tate. "Because one of the things with sickle cell disease is that crucial pain that we have that affects our entire body."
Today there are eight blood drive locations operating in the state. More information is available at msblood.com.