Mother pleads for blood donations; supply critically low in Indiana

Indiana Blood Center. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For the second day in a row, the state of Indiana is seeing a blood supply shortage. Officials said because of the long Fourth of July weekend, people may not have been able to donate blood.

The Indiana Blood Center is calling the supply critically low, the lowest it’s been in more than a year.

Melinda McIntyre told 24-Hour News 8 said the shortage could affect her family and many others. She said her 13-year-old daughter depends on a blood transfusion after rounds of chemotherapy.

Her daughter Maddi has been battling brain cancer for the past year. She said it is so scary to think about the possibility that the blood is not available and what this could mean for her daughter and other kids already fighting a tremendous battle.

This past year has been a long and hard journey for McIntyre and her family.

“Definitely the hardest thing we’ve ever done,” she said. “Definitely the hardest thing we’ve ever done.”

McIntyre said Maddi was diagnosed with cancer, a Medulloblastoma brain tumor last May. Since then she has been through many rounds of chemo.

“Every round of chemo that we’ve had for the past four rounds, she’s needed at least two bags of type O-negative blood,” she said.

She said the transfusions are needed to help her daughter regain her strength.

“She’ll need it one time and then they’ll do levels and check her again and the chemo will have already destroyed the blood they given her the week before in transfusion and she’ll need another transfusion,” she said.

Many of the major hospitals across the state rely on the blood supply coming from the Indiana Blood Center.

“An inventory level this low has dire consequences for hospital patients,” said Andrea Fagan, spokesperson for the Indiana Blood Center.

24-Hour News 8 learned as of Thursday morning, the inventory was less than a one-day supply across the board. The freezer at the blood center was pretty empty.

“This is what we call critically low. We do not have enough units on the shelves for even a one-day supply,” she said.

Fagan said they now need thousands of donors to make up for the shortage.

“We haven’t had a day yet this July where we’ve seen the 550 donors we need to see,” she said.

Fagan said they typically have anywhere from 1,700-2,000 units in stock of blood types that are most needed. As of Thursday morning, they were looking at 510 units after the holiday weekend.

“We knew that the supply was going to be low. We didn’t really expect that it would be at this crisis level at this point,” Fagan said.

McIntyre and other parents are urging people in the community to please help if you can.

“Please donate blood. These kids need it. These kids have a hard enough fight,” she said. “There are kids with different types of cancer than Maddi who will go through than a year’s chemo and there are kids who will be rediagnosed after their year and continue to need it.”

The Indiana Blood Center also canceled any standing orders from the hospitals for the time being.

As for Maddi, McIntyre said her daughter will be at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health next week for her last round of chemo.

To donate

Click here to schedule an appointment to donate blood with the Indiana Blood Center, or call 317-916-5150.

From the nonprofit blood center, here is a list of donor centers and their hours Friday and Saturday:

  • Indianapolis, 3450 N. Meridian St.: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Carmel, 726 Adams St.: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Fishers, 11003 Allisonville Road, Suite C: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Greenwood, 8739 S. U.S. 31 South: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Lafayette, 2200 Elmwood Ave.: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Terre Haute, 2021 S. Third St.: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

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