During the summer months, many people take the time to travel, barbeque, and spend time with family and friends, but neglect to give blood. Now, the situation is critical.
Both the American Red Cross and Lifesouth Blood Bank say they're at critical levels and are asking asking people to add blood donation to their summer activities.
In May and June, donations were at the lowest level the Red Cross has seen in this timeframe in over a dozen years. Lifesouth's Melinda Hinds says they've been struggling for weeks and are in serious need of all blood types.
While donations have dropped off, demand for blood products has remained steady.
Both organizations are making pleas for donations, especially O negative which can be used to treat any patient.
Lifesouth, which supplies blood to 100 percent of all public hospitals (8 facilities in 5 counties) in the River Region, says the Montgomery Fire Department and the Montgomery Police Department will hold drives with this week. MFD will be at the donation center Monday through Wednesday and MPD will hold a drive downtown Thursday and Friday.
Meteorologist Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel says blood is needed due to the potential of a disaster or catastrophic event happening at any time.
"As a meteorologist, I know that there is a chance of tornado, flood, fire, earthquake, or hurricane somewhere in our country almost every day," said Cantore. "Any one of these natural disasters can bring pain and heartbreak to those affected. Similarly, a critical blood shortage like the one we're experiencing right now could have the same effect on someone in need."
That someone could've been Brian Boyle. But, luckily, Boyle's life was saved because of blood donors.
Boyle, 25, was on his way home from swim practice in 2004 when a dump truck plowed into his vehicle. Boyle lost 60% of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. Doctors predicted that he might not be able to walk again and certainly wouldn't swim. That's if he even survived.
However, Brian did survive, and now competes in marathons and triathlons.
"Amazing medical care and volunteer blood donors helped make my recovery possible," Boyle said. "By giving just a little bit of their time, blood donors helped give me the chance at a lifetime."
Individuals who are 17 years old, meet height and weight requirements, and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. Every two seconds in America, someone needs a blood transfusion.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
RED CROSS - 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org
LIFESOUTH - 1601 Eastern Boulevard in Montgomery or visit www.lifesouth.org
INFORMATION SOURCE: American Red Cross and Lifesouth Blood Center