Tribe steps up to meet statewide blood shortage

CONTRIBUTED BY Joshua Caldwell, Media Relations.

Count out loud. One second, two seconds.

In those two seconds, someone needed blood. In the time it took to read those four words, another person needs blood.

According to the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), someone needs blood every two seconds. Blood is a lifesaving product with no artificial replacement. Hospital systems rely on donors to treat patients with traumatic injuries, surgeries, blood transfusions and more.

COVID-19 created many challenges for the state and national blood supplies. Plasma was needed in the treatment of the virus, and donation centers and blood drives had to be closed or severely restricted due to the contagious spread of the virus. This limited the number of donors who were eligible to donate. This caused a blood shortage across the nation.

As our communities emerged from the pandemic, the Chickasaw Nation partnered with the Choctaw Nation, the Muscogee Nation and OBI to address this shortage in our state by creating the Tribal Blood Drive Challenge.

The Tribal Blood Drive Challenge began in August 2021 and ran through the end of January 2022. The goal of the challenge was to encourage all citizens of the tribal communities and our neighbors to donate blood and create fellowships in a friendly contest to benefit all. Community members donated at blood drives offered at various locations throughout the challenge.

At the end of the drive, donations were tallied and the Chickasaw Nation collected the most blood donations by a wide margin. Because of all the amazing people who donated, the Chickasaw Nation increased its donations during this time frame by 33% over the previous year. With 723 donors contributing, this created 2,169 blood products. That means 2,169 people were able to receive lifesaving blood when they needed it.

Congratulations to Chickasaw Nation employees for being part of the 2021-2022 Tribal Blood Drive Challenge!

We are not done yet. Blood is still in shortage and the Chickasaw Nation is partnering again with OBI for another Tribal Blood Drive Challenge.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2022 through Jan. 31, 2023, we are challenging each other to surpass last year’s numbers and, more importantly, save more lives.

The first blood drive of this new challenge is 8-11 a.m., Aug. 9, at the Chickasaw Nation Training Center in Newcastle.

Visit OBI.org to schedule an appointment for the day of the blood drive.