The Massachusetts General Hospital Blood Donor Center needs donations more than ever. Due to physical distancing rules, restrictions for off-site blood drives and the urgent growing need for blood, the hospital’s blood supply is now at critical levels. To help address the shortage, the Department of Medicine has changed its annual blood donor challenge between its staff—during which they typically break up into different teams to compete for which team can donate the most—to instead this year encourage all employees to step up together, providing a way for staff to give back in a big but easy way.
“What we realized this year is so many people want to help, and the Department of Medicine can’t do this on their own as the need is so great,” says Kerri Palamara McGrath, MD, of the Department of Medicine, who is spearheading this effort. “We hope that all departments, anyone at all, will step up to participate in a way that is really meaningful. Instead of prioritizing this as a competition this year, we wanted to make the call about being part of the bigger picture. We hope people will come, will come more than once and will do their small part to help. More than ever blood donation matters.”
In addition to opening the challenge to all staff, this year’s drive is extended to include nine weeks so people can potentially donate whole blood twice, as people can donate whole blood every 56 days. All staff who donate from July 27 through September 25 will receive a cooler tote and the option of either a $5 Mass General food gift card or a day parking pass at North Station. Staff who donate whole blood twice will be entered into a raffle for the chance to receive movie passes or a restaurant or spa gift card.
“This situation has been new and different to all of us, and therefore this will not be like a traditional summer time shortage that lasts a few weeks. This may last for months,” says Kim Cronin, manager of Mass General's Blood Donor Services. “As the state and hospital begin to slowly re-open, more treatments and procedures are being done, meaning blood use is greatly increasing. This is the biggest challenge we have ever faced, and we need anyone who is able and willing to donate.”
How to Help
To schedule an appointment to donate blood at Mass General, visit massgeneral.org/blood-donor and click on the “Schedule an appointment” button. The next page will show a calendar with available dates and times. Appointments are required and donors can give at the Mass General Blood Donor Center in the Grey Corridor of the hospital, or one of the following July mobile blood drives:
- Tuesday, July 21, 9:30 am to 3:00 pm at Mass General Brigham Assembly Row
- Wednesday, July 29, 8:30 am to 2:00 pm at 2 Center Plaza Boston
- Thursday, July 30, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Damon Mill, 9 Pond Lane in Concord
Donating blood is a simple way to help and even those who cannot donate themselves can still spread the word, says McGrath. “For those people who really want to help in some way right now, this is how. If you’re someone who is simply tired out at the moment, take a breath and make an appointment for some time in the next couple of weeks. Sit in a chair for 30 minutes and know that you are part of something critical. For those who can’t donate for any reason, spread the message to those who can. As a team all together, we can do this.”