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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

South Bend Medical Foundation calls on Notre Dame to respond to blood shortage

The Red Cross has declared that the United States is in the worst blood shortage in over a decade. Starting in March of 2020, there has been a decline in blood that is affecting the nation and South Bend in particular. 

“We have seen the same situation that’s happening nationwide," South Bend Medical Foundation blood donor recruiter supervisor Mary Ankrapp said. "We’re up and down with our inventory in the South Bend area.”

The South Bend Medical Foundation is urging community members to donate blood in the face of a nationwide shortage.

External factors are making it difficult for people to come out and donate blood. According to the Red Cross, the pandemic seems to be the reason for a 62% drop in college and high school students donating blood. 

“The past year we have not been able to host as many drives because of COVID,” Ankrapp said. “And we have staffing shortages on top of that and just people not coming out as much as they were before.” 

Ankrapp noted that the Red Cross can no longer depend on past partners for blood donations because of the nationwide shortage.

“In the past, we have partners across the country that we work together with so if we were short on a particular blood type, we could reach out to our partners across the country and try to find supplements until our inventory gets back to a safe level,” Ankrapp said. “But because everybody nationwide is in the same scenario, when we reach out to our partners, they don’t have [blood] to give”.

The lack of a fall back option makes the issue of blood supply in South Bend hospitals more urgent, Ankrapp said. 

“That really puts the pressure on the immediate community here to step up and be able to provide the blood that is needed for the hospitals,” Ankrapp said. 

While there are issues on a national level, community leaders like South Bend Medical Foundation training coordinator Tina Kebik claimed their immediate concern is on South Bend.

“My main focus is worrying about our community. So hearing our levels and what the reports that we get from our local hospitals is pretty much our motivation,” Kebik said. 

The South Bend Medical Foundation is looking for partners. To create more of an ample supply of blood for the hospitals, the South Bend Medical Foundation would like to partner with clubs and organizations to sponsor blood drives. Any interested club or organization should reach out to Mary Ankrapp at 574-204-4132. 

There are a myriad of opportunities to donate blood. There are donor centers in South Bend and Mishawaka, along with blood drives in the tri-campus community on April 5 at Saint Mary’s College and April 13 at Holy Cross College. The South Bend Medical Foundation has recognized Notre Dame as reliable donors and hope for the trend to continue. 

“Everyone here at the University is just very giving. A lot of people are just willing to come down,” said Kebik. “Notre Dame is really good to us, with great donations.”

Kebik sees it as though it is one’s moral duty to take part in blood drives, especially in a time such as this. 

“It’s your responsibility. Also, if you were to need it, and it’s not there, how are you going to receive it?” Kebik said.

Ankrapp echoed Kebik's sentiments.

“It’s something that is very easy to do," Ankrapp said. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s a simple, goodwill gift that somebody can give to somebody that literally saves their life.”