Watch CBS News

With Chicago area blood supply in "vulnerable position," Versiti Blood Center seeking donors

Blood drives held for Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month
Blood drives held for Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month 00:50

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The blood inventory in Chicago is in what medical experts are calling "a vulnerable position," and it's even more dire for people who have sickle cell anemia.

The current blood supply in the Chicago area would last 2 to 3 days. Typically, the Chicago area would have a week's supply.

Organizers with Versiti Blood Center of Illinois, a community blood center, say the pandemic is to blame for why so many donors are not giving blood.

Just last week, Versiti organized a blood drive to help hospitals build up their supply.

A blood drive is being held Tuesday through 7 p.m. at Irwin Community Center in south suburban Homewood.

On Wednesday, McKinley Lakeside Leadership Academy, at 2920 S. Wabash Av., will host a blood drive from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The drives are part of an effort to recognize Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month. Sickle cell disease causes a person's red blood cells to be misshapen or break down at an usually high rate. Left untreated, the disease can be fatal as blood flow interruptions starve the body of nutrients it needs, including oxygen.

"Not only do nearly half of all African Americans have the blood type vital to treating Sickle Cell Disease, but this condition disproportionately affects our communities," said Hubert Stalling, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc, part of The Divine 9, a coalition of nine African American sororities and fraternal organizations hosting the blood drives. "One in every 400 African Americans have Sickle Cell Disease. We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our brothers and sisters throughout Illinois, which includes these opportunities for all communities to be a part of a life-saving solution."  

Organizers say they are very close to their goal of 100 units for this month.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.