By Jenny Macler ’23
The United States is in a blood donation crisis. From a labor shortage and COVID-19 to a lack of donors, there is not enough blood to meet the demand. Every year, five million people die worldwide because they are unable to get blood, while only 3% of age-eligible people donate each year.
A group of passionate Frederick Gunn students representing the Hearts for Action Club is bringing this crisis to light. Throughout the fall term, they have worked to understand the blood shortage and who has been affected by it. They hope to impress the urgency and magnitude of the issue upon the FGS community and ultimately hold a blood drive in the spring term.
Now more than ever the blood shortage is a problem in the United States. Among healthcare workers, there is a labor shortage that limits the amount of blood that can be collected. Additionally, there are many Americans who are skeptical about giving blood, believing there to be possible negative side effects, although healthcare workers have assured it to be otherwise. And in the past few years, COVID has also put a damper on blood donations. Blood drives were suspended, and overall, Americans experienced worsened health conditions. Between these three issues, the blood donation crisis has been exacerbated, exacting a high cost to those in need of blood.
Solving the blood shortage is no easy fix. In the US alone, 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day. It can take up to three drives to save one seriously injured person and up to a hundred units of blood for a single car accident victim. Hosting a blood drive is an extensive and difficult task too. Erin Whitney, who helped with last year’s blood drive by bringing in baked goods, said “I saw how much work it was to put on. It made me realize how big of an issue this is and how important it is that people get involved or at least learn about it. ”
Hearts for Action will address the blood crisis by spreading awareness and educating the community. Although the issue is too large for our small campus to solve, Hearts for Action will do what they can to highlight just how many people’s lives are affected by the blood shortage.
- What inspired you to lead this club?
- What goals do you have for the club’s future?
- How do you plan to motivate people to care about this issue?
- Why do you think this is an important issue? Who is involved?
Aim to become experts in our topic
Members researched the following questions and came to the meeting with their findings:
Who needs blood and why?
- People with cancer, orthopedic/cardiovascular surgery, blood disorders
Why is the demand hard to meet?
– can take 3 drives to help 1 seriously injured person
– can take 100 pints of blood for a trauma
– pandemic negatively affected blood collection by stopping drives and worsening health
– labor shortage
– 3% of age-eligible people donated each year
– lack of understanding/education
How to collect blood effectively?
– people aren’t aware there’s a crisis
How many lives are lost?
- 5 million in the US per year
- ⅓ deaths caused by trauma have to do with blood shortage
- China, India, rural area
Divide each issue and do further research, break up the problem – start local in CT
Interview stakeholders & donors
Google Classroom: 4o5cq2n
The baking club helped out with last year’s drive, bringing baked goods for all the donors, and I saw how much work it was to put it on and the behind-the-scenes. It made me realize how big of an issue this is and how important it is that people get involved or at least learn about it.
I think even just the numbers are insane, the number of people whose lives this impacts or whose lives even end. Part of our club this year is gonna be spreading awareness and educating the community so that they’re able to go out and help people.
Our main activity is the school’s blood drive, but we’re also looking for ways that we can help in the broader community.
I’m really excited to learn more because I feel like the more we research, the more we realize how much we actually don’t know.