Critical shortage of blood donations in SWFL partially due to pandemic

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:
Tubes of blood. Photo via Ivanhoe Newswire

After retiring, doctors told William Cloughly he had a year to live.

“I went in for a checkup at the VA and they noticed that my blood levels were going down,” he said. “They found out that I had MDS. And I also had leukemia in my bone marrow.”

Now, three years later, Cloughly is grateful for the time he’s had and the blood donations that keep him alive.

William Cloughly (Provided to WINK News)

“Eventually, it’s going to take me and I know that. But the blood I get allows me to live and be able to get out and do things,” he said.

But now, there’s a critical shortage of blood donations threatening the time he has left.

“There’s been times that I needed two units and because we’re short, especially with O positive blood, I wasn’t able to get the second one. So I was kind of run-down, slept a lot. I was not able to walk,” he said.

Nicole Stone with Lee Health’s oncology program says the shortage is due in part to the pandemic.

“We all are feeling a little worried, a little concerned,” Stone said. “If those patients aren’t able to get the blood – what will happen with them? How will they do waiting?”

Some people fear coming out to donate and they’ve canceled many blood drives.

“It’s that one thing that you can do to help patients that doesn’t require spending money, doesn’t require a lot of time,” Stone said, and just might save someone like Cloughly’s life.

“If I don’t get the blood, I die. That’s all there is to it,” Cloughly said.

Donation made through Lee Health stay in Southwest Florida and go to Lee Health patients.

For more information on how to safely donate blood during COVID-19 or to find the closest donation center to you, click here.

Stay tuned on the latest coronavirus donor information

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