INDIANAPOLIS — The call for blood donations continues in Central Indiana during the pandemic. January marks National Blood Donor Month and those at the American Red Cross and Versiti encourage neighbors to come out to help save lives.
Kristin Marlow with Northwest Indiana's American Red Cross Chapter will be donating convalescent plasma for the third time in February after contracting coronavirus in the spring. For her, it is personal. She currently has a family member fighting the virus in the ICU.
“Hoosiers helping Hoosiers. I feel that that’s my job. And I feel that’s my role and responsibility and as long as I have antibodies to give, I’ll give them,” Marlow said.
According to the Red Cross, there is a national shortage of convalescent plasma. The non-profit notes a 250% since October in “hospital distributions for convalescent plasma.” It is thought one blood donation can help up to three lives.
250% since October in “hospital distributions for convalescent plasma.”
The process of donating convalescent plasma, according to Marlow, is as simple as donating blood, but just takes longer to do. She and others urge any and all Hoosiers eligible to donate blood, platelets and convalescent plasma to do so.
“As vaccinations rollout the FDA has not cleared people that have been vaccinated to donate convalescent plasma, so we’re going to lose some of the current donors that we have, so we continually need new donors that have recovered from COVID,” Versiti Blood Center of Indiana Area Vice President Penny Schroeder said.
She adds the area needs an average of 600 units of blood daily, which has proven difficult at times. “Some days yes, some days no. We do a lot of blood drives in the area. We put messages out on social media. Right now, coming out of the holiday our inventory is tight, so we would love to see some of our folks come into our centers to donate,” Schroeder said.
In an effort to get more donors, the American Red Cross and NFL are partnering this month and will be giving away two tickets to next year's Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Those who donate blood or plasma this month with the Red Cross is automatically entered in the drawing.