Blood donation picture by Red Cross

The nation faces a critical shortage of blood. Locals, like Maria Higgins, rely on blood to stay alive.

Nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives across the nation have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that casts a pall over patients who rely on blood for their health.

“Please donate blood if you can! I literally would if I could,” wrote Maria Higgins, Payson resident, business owner and mother on her Facebook page.

She explained she has pernicious anemia and relies on blood donors to stay alive.

As the COVID-19 crisis expands, the Red Cross finds itself in the “precarious situation” of providing more blood than what is available.

To find donors, America’s Blood Centers, Armed Services Blood Program, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have joined with the Red Cross.

The message?

“The blood banks need to be resupplied soon, so they need healthy donors to show up and help,” wrote the Red Cross on its webpage.

This crisis follows a tough cold and flu season that already affected the nation’s ability to maintain its blood supply.

As COVID-19 cases increase, this limits the number of donors available.

The Red Cross has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of donors during the donation process and at blood drives.

Those who have recently traveled or have symptoms should not consider donating, but for any others who can donate, Higgins has a plea.

“So if you can, please donate. I, and many like me, depend on donated blood products to keep me alive and functioning!” she said.

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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