YANKEE LAKE, Ohio (WYTV) – Nationwide, about 12,000 blood drives have been canceled because of concerns surrounding COVID-19. The American Red Cross said those cancellations have caused 350,000 fewer donations but locally, people seem to still be doing their part.
“My dad has always stressed the importance of donating blood, especially in a time like this,” said Ashley Kirila, of Brookfield.
Kirila said because of the coronavirus pandemic, she felt compelled to donate blood.
“There’s a lot of people who would love to donate right now who need to be working, they need to be in hospitals, they need to be doing what they need to do and some people might be sick so they can’t come donate. I just think that it’s important that if you have the time to do it, make time and go do it.”
But she and about 60 people who made appointments almost didn’t have a place to give Wednesday when the Red Cross found themselves without a host location to set up shop.
That is until owner John Jurko opened the Yankee Lake Ballroom so the blood drive could take place.
“He had a building that was open, and was available, and very big and very appropriate for what they’re trying to do here today, so it just goes to show that the community is working together,” said State Sen. Sean O’Brien.
“It’s such an important thing,” said Rep. Gil Blair. “We have the COVID patients that everybody is caring for, but we have our other people who are sick with many conditions and this will help them fulfill those needs.”
Red Cross account manager Christina Gargas said right now, they’re able to meet patient needs but they’re looking ahead to the weeks to come.
“We are really encouraging donors to go onto our website, RedCross.org, and make an appointment in the coming days and weeks just because the fact we know that the need is going to be there and we want to be able to continue to meet the needs of local patients.”