The American Red Cross holds community blood drive in Chester County

The Red Cross says donating takes about 45 minutes and can save up to three lives per donation.
WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The American Red Cross is encouraging the community to donate blood, as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the worst blood shortage in a decade.

On Tuesday, doctors from the nonprofit held a blood drive at Chester County Hospital where donations could potentially help hundreds of people.

"There's a need for it," said Linda Rice, a patient care technician at the hospital.

"If you don't mind the little pinch in the arm, it just gives you a couple of minutes to relax and close your eyes, and you're doing a good thing in the meantime," she said.

As Rice recovered from donating blood with a sugary drink and snacks, she said she's proud of her ability to help her community.

The Red Cross says donating takes about 45 minutes and can save up to three lives per donation.

"It's gratifying," Rice said.

More than 70 donors like her registered for the blood drive at Chester County Hospital, an effort taking place at a critical time.

"With COVID, it's been tough. We lost some sites due to heightened COVID restrictions, short staffing, and a shrinking donor pool," said Ashley Campuzano, a team supervisor for the American Red Cross.

During January's Omicron surge, the Red Cross declared a national blood crisis, the worst shortage in a decade.

That's why the nonprofit has pushed for similar events to remind the community of the benefits of donating, like a free health check with Red Cross doctors and the gratification of helping those in need.

"I feel good about my job every day when I wake up. It's a great feeling to know that I'm helping people," said Campuzano.

If you're thinking about donating blood, 6abc will be holding the 2022 6abc Philly Blood Drive on Wednesday, March 30 at the Courtyard by Marriott, Fairmount Ballroom.

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