‘This is not a social event, it’s a life-saving event’ What you need to know about giving blood in a crisis

American Red Cross taking extra precautions so healthy eligible donors can donate blood

ROANOKE, Va. – Right now you may not be able to participate in social events, but you can still save a life by giving blood.

Currently, there is a huge need for blood donors but with social distancing and cancelled drives, some are worried.

The American Red Cross Roanoke, New River Valley Chapter wants people to know that giving blood is not a social event it’s a life saving event.

The chapter’s executive director, Jackie Grant said, “We are taking the temperature of everybody that comes into a drive, our staff and the donors. We’ve separated the beds 6 feet apart, we are using a lot more hand sanitizer, a lot more disinfectant to make people feel safe and comfortable when they’re in our donor facility.”

Precautions like that are why John and Cathy Shoulders felt safe enough to help save a life in the midst of what’s going around them.

John Shoulders said it was all his wife’s idea after she saw a news story on the shortage of blood. “We figured we could skip over here and give blood and keep social distanced and still get back home safely.”

“The need is there, this is one small thing we can do in this time when you feel really helpless," said Cathy Shoulders.

Nationwide, American Red Cross has lost more than 7,000 drives, which is about 200,000 units uncollected.

They are asking anyone who has a drive and are thinking about canceling, don’t. Call the Red Cross and they can help change the location of the drive.

Saturday morning, the blood donation center in Downtown Roanoke is having a drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and still have open slots. If you can’t make the drive, the Red Cross take donation appointments 7 days a week.

You have to make an appointment to give. Make an appointment online at your nearest drive or donation center here or call 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767).

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