As children, we couldn’t wait for the school year to end and summer to begin. We looked forward to the long, lazy days on our bikes, playing baseball, or just hanging out with our friends. If we were very lucky, we might even go on vacation with our family to somewhere fun and exciting, like the beach or an amusement park with endless rides.
The reality as adults is not quite as “sunny”, but we still all enjoy the summer months if just for the better weather. Unfortunately, the things we love about summer are the very things that challenge the blood industry in its mission to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood products. With schools out for the summer and vacations more common across all businesses, blood drives are more difficult to schedule and donors are more scarce.
To make matters worse, the likelihood of needing blood goes up during these same months because of holiday and vacation travel and the increased risk of accidents on our highways. This conundrum isn’t easily solved and leads to more visible pleas for help from blood centers across the country. As providers, we wrestle with strategies to attract new donors and new ways to entice our regular donors to raise their sleeves for the cause.
If you’ve gotten this far in the post, I applaud you for caring enough to read about the challenges we’re facing in the blood industry, and I implore you to try to help in some way. If you’re healthy and haven’t ever donated blood, please give it a try. If you’re a regular donor, please consider timing your donation before you go on vacation to help us build our inventory of precious products. If you aren’t able to donate, perhaps you could help us by getting the word out to those who can?
We don’t want people to ruin their summer by worrying about a safe blood supply – that’s our job. But we’re all in this together, so each of us helping to get the word out goes a long way to keeping us all safe, not just during the summer, but all year long. Remember to put on your sunscreen, don’t forget to take your sunglasses with you, and help us save lives this summer – one day it might just be yours that we save!