As blood runs short in Ky. and the U.S., Red Cross seeks donors

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Responding to a potentially dangerous shortage of blood, Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife set an example Monday by donating blood in the state Capitol and hosting a blood drive in the Capitol Education Center.

First lady Britainy Beshear said before they donated that the number of blood donors in the U.S. is at a 20-year low. Steve Cunanan, regional director for the American Red Cross, said that means the organization is getting 40 percent less blood than usual. It declared a national emergency last month.

Cunanan noted that blood is a perishable product, and is needed an average of every two seconds in the U.S., and only 3 percent of Americans donate blood.

The governor said the shortage could lead to delays in surgeries in Kentucky and would become even more dire in the event of a disaster. He said he and his wife have become regular donors in recent years.

The Red Cross is coordinating with the Kentucky Blood Center, the largest blood bank in the state. Its website has a page where you can enter your ZIP code to find drives in Eastern and Central Kentucky, including Louisville. The Red Cross has a site where you can find blood drives anywhere in Kentucky or the U.S.

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