Group urges Tennesseans to donate blood amid critical shortage

By Danielle Smith, Tennessee News Service

Blood donations are important year-round, and January, which is National Blood Donor Month, presents a unique challenge due to the holiday season, which causes a drop in donor turnout, putting the blood supply at risk.

Max Winitz, media relations coordinator for Nashville Blood Assurance, said the nonprofit provides blood and blood products for more than 70 medical facilities throughout the region, but only has a two-day blood supply for every blood type. He stressed they are seeking more donors.

“We need all the donors, as many as possible, to get out there to roll up the sleeve and donate this lifesaving fluid to help patients who are battling debilitating illnesses and traumatic injuries in those hospitals,” Winitz urged.

Winitz noted Tennessee residents can give blood through Nashville Blood Assurance’s donation centers throughout the region, at bloodmobiles, in person, or by scheduling an appointment online at

Winitz pointed out a wide range of people can benefit from blood donations, and one blood donation can save three lives in the community.

“Hospitals are always in need of O-negative and O-positive,” Winitz noted. “In addition, we know hospitals are always in huge demand for platelet donations. You know, platelets are used a lot by patients battling not only those traumatic injuries, but a lot of cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy.”

According to Winitz, they rely heavily on mobile blood drives held at high schools, so they lose a large percentage of donations during the holidays, when they are unable to go to high schools. With parental permission, 16-year-olds are allowed to donate, and 17-year-olds and older may also give blood.