11 Cares Blood Donation Week continues, encouraging eligible people to donate

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 is teaming up with our partners to encourage eligible individuals to donate blood.

The 11 Cares Blood Donation Week is Sunday, July 17 through Saturday, July 23. To make an appointment during that time, visit Vitalant.org and use the code ME020007. To find out if you’re eligible to donate, visit https://vitalant.org/blood-donation-requirements

A Channel 11 crew visited the North Hills location on McKnight Road on Thursday to learn more about the need.

“Right now, in Greater Pittsburgh area, we need about 600 blood donors every day to provide the hospitals with the blood that they need for their patients,” said Kristen Lane, Vitalant communications manager. “Right now we’re only getting about a third of that.”

Lane said blood has been brought in from other regions in order to meet the need locally.

“The important thing to remember about blood donation is, blood cannot be manufactured, the only way we get blood is from people who volunteer to donate,” she said.

The number of blood donors has steadily decreased for the last 15 years, and the situation turned even more dire during the pandemic. Donors were more hesitant to come out, and organizations weren’t able to host the blood drives that they depend on.

But now, eligible individuals are being encouraged to donate if they can. Just one whole blood donation can save up to three lives.

“For 45 minutes of your time, you can do a great service,” said Tom Stackrow, a donor we spoke to Thursday.

Stackrow said he’s donated more than 120 times over the course of many years.

“It’s one of those efforts that are effortless,” he said. “You just do it, and you know you’re doing good.”

Stackrow told us that his donations are able to help newborn babies.

“I was told that I did not have certain antibodies in my blood because I did not have a certain childhood disease,” he said. “So therefore, my blood can be used for newborn babies who haven’t developed any sort of resistant antibodies, so that just made me feel great and made me want to donate more.”

Donors are able to help many individuals, from newborn babies in need of blood, or cancer patients in need of platelets.

“Come on down and give it a try,” Stackrow said. “I think you’ll get hooked once you see how easy and quick and painless it is.”

The 11 Cares Blood Donation Week is sponsored by 84 Lumber, Clearview Federal Credit Union, Duquesne Light Company and Highmark Wholecare.

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