‘It’s going to the cause’: Citizens donate blood after major decrease in donations

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - The American Red Cross, Knights of Columbus, and City of New Bern Police and Fire-Rescue hosted the annual United Badges Blood Drive Thursday.

Red Cross staff explained that donations normally drop during the summer months, but because of low donor turnout throughout most of the pandemic, and now an increase in shootings across the country, they say donations are especially important now.

Officials with the American Red Cross say they saw donations drop 12% in June across the country. But those who continue to donate are now challenging others to match their efforts.

“I have given 122 pints and I want somebody else to catch me,” Vernon Guion, a retired airman said.

Guion says he has donated blood almost every year since 1976.

“We’re hoping to replenish what we didn’t get in June because every two seconds someone in our country is receiving blood,” American Red Cross’s Kristin Willis said.

With the increased amount of shootings across the country, law enforcement and emergency response officials explained that having a sufficient amount of blood is critical for first responders.

“We see the outcome of very tragic situations. Whether it’s traffic accidents, a fall, or an act of violence. People need blood and that’s a critical component,” New Bern Police Chief Patrick Gallagher said.

New Bern Fire Chief Robert Boyd also understands the importance of the public’s donations.

“One giving will help three people,” Boyd said. “It’s very important to give back to the community and what better way to give back to the community [than] giving blood to help save a life?”

Michelle Navarra is a returning donor. She says there is always a reason to donate.

“I’m a universal donor. I also have a special marker that helps premature babies,” Navarra said. “When you can’t do anything else, at least if you can donate blood, you’re helping someone. You know it’s going to the cause.”

More than 100 donors have come out for the United Badger Blood Drive. Red Cross staff say the goal is to have 250 units of blood donated by the end of the day.

According to the American Red Cross website, the organization provides about 40% of the nation’s blood supply and blood components.

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