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Rocky Mount, Va. (April 8, 2020) – There is a severe blood shortage across the country due to blood drive cancelations from the COVID-19 outbreak. The American Red Cross has seen approximately 5,000 blood drives canceled nationwide, along with an estimated 170,000 pints of blood being lost because of the cancelations.
A representative from American Red Cross reached out to the YMCA about setting up a blood drive for May of 2020. Once it became apparent that the new virus was going to have a major impact on blood drives and donations Andrea Fansler, Smith Mountain Lake Branch Director, reached out to set up three separate emergency drives. Both emergency drives, the first held March 19th and the second on April 1st, exceeded expectations and even had to turn people away, all of which registered for the April 20th emergency blood drive.
The April 20th blood drive will be held at the Smith Mountain Lake location, 293 Firstwatch Dr., Moneta, VA 24121, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Kevin McAlexander, CEO of the Franklin County YMCA, said, “The Y was prepared and eager to partner with the Red Cross. This is what the Y does in order to help serve communities.”
Most YMCA’s across the country are closed, including Franklin County, but are continuing emergency operations with other organizations such as these.
“We are here in the community doing what we can to assist during the coronavirus crisis. At our April 1st drive, where more than half of the donors were YMCA members, we exceeded our goal of 22 units and managed to collect 44! If you are healthy and able please consider donating blood on April 20th,” said Fansler.
Fansler explained the Red Cross will conduct the blood drive inside the YMCA facility, using the gymnasium to ensure adequate spacing. In a press release from the Red Cross, minimal Red Cross staff will participate in the blood drive and precautions include taking the temperature of staff and donors before entering the drive, spacing beds to follow social distancing and increasing measures for disinfecting surfaces.
“Spread the love, please give blood,” says Teresa Shelton, lake local and March 19th donor.
For more information or to set up an appointment for April 20th call Andrea Fansler at (540)721-9622.