Six-year-old McKinney resident Drew Herrell was diagnosed with pediatric cancer in May and has since received five blood transfusions.
These have helped him be a normal kid while receiving cancer treatments, according to his mom, Emily Herrell.
Over the summer, supplies ran low for O-negative blood types—the kind Drew needed. Emily said this shortage weighed heavily on her heart because it meant her son might not be able to receive the treatment he needed.
Carter BloodCare consultant Katie Huntsman said there is an increased need for all blood types in the summer and around the holidays.
“It’s inevitable,” she said. “It’s going to be every year like that. That’s just the cycle of the blood supply.”
One reason for the shortage is because 20% of blood donations coming from high school students, Huntsman said.
“As you can imagine, when [students are]not in school, we see a huge drop,” she said. “This past summer was especially critical because … we were seeing way less donors than we normally see.”
Frances Campbell, medical lab technician at Medical City McKinney, said another reason for the shortage is tied to baby boomers. That population used to donate regularly, but as they get older, fewer are able to donate, Campbell said.
“We have the younger generation … but everybody has busy lives,” Campbell said.
Medical City McKinney and Methodist McKinney Hospital host quarterly blood drives, and Carter BloodCare hosts regular drives around the community and at high schools.
“I think [donating blood is]something easy you can do to help,” Emily said. “It takes 30 minutes [and]… because of that, a child can battle cancer.”