INDIANAPOLIS — The American Red Cross needs your help in the middle of a nationwide blood shortage. The lack of donations has hit Indiana hard, and that's why they are asking Hoosiers to donate now, before tragedy happens.
Collecting blood donations is a year-round task, and while donations are always welcome, sometimes it may come a little too late.
"We have to ensure a consistent blood supply each and every day. It's the blood on the shelves at the time something terrible happens is the blood that makes a difference because by the time we collect blood, it wont ship out for a few days," Sandra Ryden of the American Red Cross said. "It has to be distributed, tested and go through all those kinds of things before it can hit the shelves and that's much too late."
Right now, Indiana's blood supply is at an emergency level as the Red Cross and area hospitals only have enough blood to last three days during a crisis. That's why for the first time ever, the Red Cross is hosting a blood drive at the Indiana State Fair. It's an easy way for thousands of Hoosiers to give blood. Amy Clegg is one of those people.
"I was here at the fair, I was walking by looking for something and she was like 'hey, can you donate blood?' And I said if you can get me in and out I can, and they were like GO! So it happened," Clegg said.
The "it" that happened is the difference her single blood donation made. The blood she gives today is enough to save three lives in a moment of need. Clegg said it's her chance to give back and be almost as cool as her husband who saves lives every day.
""My husband's a firefighter, I can't be cooler than him. But I'm almost as cool. I'm not crazy enough to run into the buildings, but I can help a little bit," Clegg said.
When it comes to saving lives, that little bit can go a long way.
"One car accident victim can take up to 100 units of blood so we just have to make sure we are out collecting every single day and maximizing all of our blood drives," Ryden said.
If you would like to give blood to help with Indiana's shortage, The Big Bloodmobile will be at the State Fairgrounds Friday, Sunday, and Aug. 18. All donors will receive a $5 Amazon gift card. You can also go to RedCrossBlood.org, enter your zip code and find a blood drive near you all year long.