COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Red Cross is putting out a desperate plea for blood donations after a sharp decline in appointments has them struggling to meet hospital demand.
”If the Red Cross is not around, I’m not around,” said Derek Free, a nurse practitioner with Adena Regional Medical Center. “And so, it really is a good relationship that we have together.”
Since he was born, Free has had to cope with a rare disorder known as Diamond Blackfan anemia, a condition that leaves his body unable to make an adequate number of blood cells, requiring him to receive at least three units of blood every three weeks.
“It’s one of those things that if you don’t have it, you don’t have it,” Free said. “You can’t just create it.”
Over the years, his career path led him to become a medical professional who takes care of ICU patients in need of blood.
As a blood recipient himself, Free uses his situation to bring attention to the severe blood shortage affecting central Ohio hospitals.
“It really requires people to go out, to kind of sacrifice of themselves and to give of their time, and give their blood to make it happen,” he said. “Because in the health care setting, if we don’t have product to treat you, we don’t have product.”
This is why he’s asking anyone who’s able to give blood to take the time and do so, as soon as they can.
“The time is easy, the need is desperate, and we would be grateful for anything that anyone is willing to give right now,” Free said.
According to the Red Cross’ South-Central Ohio Chapter, blood requests are up by 12 percent across the region. You can make an appointment through the Red Cross to donate blood and they ask that if you make an appointment, you do your best to follow through and keep it.
For more information on Red Cross locations and to sign up to donate, click here.