Another critical way to help Hurricane Harvey victims? Donate blood

Health professionals anticipate an increase in blood transfusions but say many blood drives and donation centers in the Houston area are shut down

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In Houston, there’s a shortage of just about everything except rain. That includes blood, which is crucial when it comes to helping the sick or injured during a crisis.

Some are heading down south to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. Others are donating money for supplies.

Joe Kinslow decided he’s giving a part of himself.

“There are a lot of needy people in Houston who can use our blood,” he said.

Health professionals are anticipating an increase in people who need blood transfusions and they say many blood drives and donation centers in the Houston area are shut down.

“Blood centers are still not operational and if they are operational, there are no people there to donate because, you know, they’ve been evacuated,” said Linda Grace, with United Blood Services.

She said just one day of not being able to collect blood in an area has a major impact, especially in a city as large as Houston.

“What we consider to be an adequate supply of blood on hand is three days and how long has this storm been going on? That’ll help you understand why it’s so important.”

So they’re relying on donors from other areas to fill the void.

“You can make a difference. It’s easy to do,” Grace said.

Kinslow agrees.

“It feels great, it really does.”

He said he donates often but knows it’s especially important in times of crisis like this.

“One thing that I’ve always enjoyed is helping out other people in any way that I can.”

People with O-negative blood can help anyone but every donation can save a life.

“Can you imagine what it means? A lifetime to that person that’s receiving that blood that you decided to donate,” Grace said.

To find a blood drive near you, visit the American Red Cross website.

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