Record donor encouraging blood donations during pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you’re stuck at home and feel helpless, there’s a way to get out of the house and possibly save a life: donate blood.

Now more than ever, blood donation centers need help.

Shaun Brennan has done his part since the 1990s and works to bring awareness every day.

“Now over seven years of running a minimum of two miles a day for this cause, showing people you can lead a healthy lifestyle while donating life-saving product,” he said.

He got the idea more than 20 years ago from a coworker. After donating blood, Brennan soon switched over to platelets, partially inspired by his day job working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Platelets are your body’s internal BAND-AID. They stop you from bleeding to death,” Brennan said.

In fact, he’s made more than 450 donations, three of those in the last month.

“Less than 3 percent of the eligible population in the U.S. donate annually and .4 percent donate platelets. that was before the pandemic. Since the pandemic, it makes things even tougher,” Brennan said.

“Those who have traveled to hot spots or around people who are sick, we’re asking those folks not to donate. That combined with the general fear of not knowing what to expect through all this, there’s been an extreme decline in our donations,” said Mitzi Breaux with Vitalant.

Brennan regularly donates to Vitalant as well as also the American Red Cross and St, Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Breaux urged people to remember: right now there are still cancer patients, newborn babies and victims of car accidents who need these life-saving donations.

“It’s a difficult situation. i would encourage people if they can to donate,” Brennan said.

During this time, Vitalant has extended its hours but is asking people to make appointments to allow for social distancing. You can do that here.

The American Red Cross is holding blood drives every Tuesday at its Madison Avenue location and is also encouraging appointments. You can do that here.

Vitalant Donor Eligibility Information: https://www.vitalant.org/Donate/Donor-Eligibility.aspx

American Red Cross Eligibility Information: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements.html

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