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Maine blood donations at a 10-year low

There is a critical need for blood donations right now, according to the American Red Cross.

MAINE, Maine — The American Red Cross is urging those who can donate blood to make an appointment. Blood donations in New England are at the lowest level in nearly a decade, according to the Red Cross.

Red Cross Regional Communications Manager Mary Grant wrote, "Thousands have answered the call to give, but additional donors are needed as we head into the busy holiday season. Donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to give now to help meet the needs of patients."

Grant said the Red Cross is nearly reaching an "emergency need" for O-negative and O-positive blood.

While hospitals try to maintain a five-day supply of blood, some Maine hospitals are operating with a half-day supply, according to Red Cross Account Manager Eddie Scott. 

Scott believes the shortage is, in part, a lingering impact of the pandemic. 

"Typically, pre-COVID, in the fall, we'd have a large number of donors come out, and that hasn't happened for us this year, and the same thing happened last year. So we're finding ourselves in a bit of a hole as far as the blood is concerned."

The Red Cross is following strict COVID protocols at every blood drive, to ensure donors feel safe. 

You can find an appointment near you by clicking here. 

NEWS CENTER Maine met with one family who knows the significance of blood and platelet donations.

Seventeen-month-old Madison Charland was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, cancer of the blood and bone marrow, in March. She spent 45 straight days in the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, according to her family.

Throughout that treatment, Madison needed multiple blood and platelet transfusions. Her uncle, Jeremy Moreau, said the first transfusion was delayed a day or two because they had to wait for a donation from New Hampshire.

Since then, Moreau has been an active volunteer with the Red Cross, organizing blood drivers in Madison's honor.

He has scheduled an upcoming blood drive at the Scarborough Public Safety Building, on Dec. 29 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

To make an appointment, click here.

The Red Cross is trying to incentivize donations through rewards. 

Grant wrote, "In honor of the new series, I Know What You Did Last Summer, those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Nov. 1-12, 2021, will automatically be entered to win a trip for two to Hawaii, courtesy of Amazon Prime Video. All who come to give Nov. 1-23 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, thanks to Amazon."

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