MAINE, USA — Patric Santerre of Portland has been donating blood since college, almost 40 years.
"I just received my two-gallon pin in January," said Santerre.
The American Red Cross is looking for more people like Patric Santerre.
"Even before the pandemic, only three percent of the population were donating blood. Bottom line is we need more people rolling up their sleeves," says Mary Brant, Communications Manager for the American Red Cross.
Now more than ever, when the pandemic hit, the American Red Cross took a big hit, with thousands of blood drives canceling.
"That equates to hundreds of thousands of blood donations going uncollected."
The American Red Cross strives to have a five day supply of blood to meet the needs of hospitals. Pandemic or not.
"In reaching out to donors in the beginning of the pandemic they really showed up to help."
Help with the immediate need of hospitals. In the past two to three weeks, the American Red Cross has seen a 30 percent increase for blood products from hospitals.
"Right now, we are back in that urgent need situation and we need people to make time to come out and give."
But the American Red Cross admits that some people wanting to donate blood are having a difficult time signing up for an appointment. When they go online they are finding there are not a lot of available appointments.
Brant says the reason for that is there are fewer blood drives so people have to come into the donation center where there is less room due to social distancing guidelines.
Her advice is to keep trying.
"There is no known end date to this coronavirus pandemic we are going to need your donations for the foreseeable future."
Santerre, who has donated two gallons of blood in his lifetime, so far, will continue to be there for the American Red Cross.
"I just feel as though it was a good thing to do," Santerre says.
Mary Brant agrees.
"Every blood donation can help save up to three lives. It is one of the easiest ways to feel what it's like to be a hero," Brant says.
To help the American Red Cross meet the demand for blood it is currently looking for businesses, churches, or civic organizations interested in hosting a blood drive. You can call or click here to learn more.