PHOENIX — It is an urgent call for help from first responders as they come together to launch the holiday blood and plasma donation drive to help save lives this holiday season.
Sue Thew with Vitalant tells ABC15 it is the blood on the shelves that helps save lives. Due to the pandemic this year, 376 blood drives set to take place in November and December alone had to be canceled, resulting in the loss of approximately 8,000 blood donations.
"Thanksgiving through New Year's Day is the most difficult time of the year to maintain our state's blood supply," said Thew.
In spite of the pandemic there's still cancer patients, surgery patients, accident victims, and people fighting blood disorders that need your and my help to save their lives," said Thew.
Now that also included gravely ill COVID-19 patients, who needed antibodies from convalescent plasma of those who had survived the virus.
Among the first responders donating blood and plasma was Phoenix Police Officer Santos Robles, who had fought a tough fight with COVID-19 earlier this year.
"Convalescent plasma helped me, my symptoms were shortened because of it," said Officer Robles.
He had been hospitalized twice, once after suffering a fall due to low oxygen levels.
"It was pretty scary. I tell you the worst feeling is being in that hospital room by yourself," said Robles.
He was unable to see his children for 21 days. Robles says it took five transfusions of convalescent plasma along with the drug Remdisivir to get his health back on track.
"It was a day by day improvement. I do know this. It's not the flu," joked Robles.
Grateful to be alive, Robles said it was his time to give back and help someone else in need. He urged others in the community to do the same.
Thew said 600 donors are needed every single day to meet the demand out there.
You can sign up to donate your blood or plasma through Vitalant here or any other agency of your choice.