Blood donations needed more than ever during the holidays

During the pandemic, there’s been a severe blood and platelet shortage.

Now, here come the holidays.

Around the holidays, blood centers have an even more challenging time getting donations. With schools out, businesses closed for the holiday, and cold weather, fewer people get out to donate.

Houstonian Janice Weaver said if it weren’t for her donors, she wouldn’t be alive today.

“A rare blood disease occurred where my blood depleted out of my body,” Weaver said. “Twenty-nine days of isolation and several hundred units of plasma is what saved my life.”

For patients in the hospital with conditions like hers, cancer patients, trauma and car accidents, representative Cameron Palmer with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center says they need a lot of blood daily.

“We just see lower donor participation in our donor centers and in our mobile drives, and this is just a great time to remind our community that people are still in need of blood. Our hospitals still need that thousand units of blood every day just for treatment for patients,” Palmer said.

Years ago, the FDA started allowing gay and bisexual men to donate if they had not had sexual contact with other men for a year. Then, the FDA reduced that time to three months because of severe shortages during the pandemic. Now, the agency is weighing the possibility of eliminating that policy for monogamous men in the future.

Weaver said since her close call ten years ago, she’s been a huge advocate for people to donate. She hosts blood drives and encourages friends and family to give all year round.

“Needing several hundred units of plasma and them having the supply on hand just like that, it’s a miracle, a miracle and a blessing, I would say,” Weaver said. “I thank God for all the people that have donated.”

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