MAUMEE, Ohio — Dozens of people rolled up their sleeves Friday to help save a life at the #11together blood drive.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, according to the American Red Cross.
The pandemic put a pause on regular donors coming in to give blood, making the supply on shelves extremely low. Staff with the Red Cross said their inventory is getting back up, but not enough to feel comfortable.
That's why they're appreciative of donors like Rick Hilbert, who went the distance just to help out.
"They don't have a Red Cross down in Florida. I have a house down there in the wintertime, so I come back just to give blood," he said. "You know, just doing something for somebody and that's the way we all should be. It's nothing for money, it's just to give."
Each person who donates blood has the potential to save up to three lives.
The Red Cross provides about 40% of our nation's blood and blood components, all, of course, coming from generous donors.
But, supply can't always meet demand because only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly.
One regular donor, Ann Okuley, said she keeps coming back because she knows how great the need is and because of how well the staff treats her.
"I think they take a lot of care to make sure that it's a good experience for you. They warn you when it's going to hurt, and I think they take good care of you if you start to pass out or anything. So, they keep an eye on you and it's not scary," Okuley said.
Each year, nearly 6.8 million people in the U.S. donate blood.
Hilbert said he's been donating his unique blood for so long, he now knows exactly where his blood is going.
"My blood's got something in it — I don't know what it's called — but it's good for the babies. So, they call me all the time and I donate three times a year for the babies," Hilbert said.
If you missed the opportunity to donate with WTOL 11, the Red Cross hosts blood drives frequently. You can learn more on the American Red Cross website.