CINCINNATI — Summer always poses a challenge for Hoxworth Blood Center, when more shootings and accidents are typically prevalent. But this summer has been particularly demanding of the blood bank, and they're now in real need of every single blood type.
"Summertime, historically, is a really hard time for blood banks across the country," said Cara Nicolas, with Hoxworth Blood Center. "Hoxworth is not the only person or blood bank going through this right now."
The typical level of need for an average summer, however, involves putting out a call for specific types of blood the bank may find themselves low on. This summer, they're in dire need of every kind.
"We are in need for every single type," said Nicolas. "So a lot of times we'll go on appeal for O positive or A negative depending on the need. But our supplies have gotten so low we need every single blood type."
Hoxworth serves 18 hospitals in the Greater Cincinnati area, and with the raised demand for blood has also come a serious decrease in donations. Nicolas said with more serious car accidents and shootings happening in the community more often, they don't expect to see the need decrease soon.
"Depending on the injury, we could use 50, 100, 150 units on just one person," said Nicolas. "It can be really scary. You see all these traumas happening and the usage can just skyrocket."
David Shardelow, a frequent Hoxworth donor, said he's driven to donate after his family experienced the impact of cancer. He said his father-in-law developed leukemia, and relied on blood donations to stay alive. He was inspired to start donating his own, and he comes in every two weeks.
"My blood type is AB positive," he said. "AB positive is a universal donor for platelets."
Now, he donates with another leukemia patient in mind: a friend's six-year-old child is fighting leukemia.
Hoxworth said it will need to get between 350 to 400 donors every day for the next several weeks to get the blood banks back up to safe levels.
"There's no artificial substitute," said Nicolas. "So it has to come from volunteer donors. So, you know, it's not fun maybe having a needle put in your arm. But you are literally saving lives right here in our community."