Blood Assurance Needs You - And Response

Friday, June 4, 2021

My name is J.B. Gaskins and I am the president and CEO of Blood Assurance. I am honored to serve at the head of Blood Assurance and am honored to help provide blood to our area patients in need. I am writing today to say that we need our community’s help now.  

At the beginning of the pandemic, we knew that we would see a decline in blood donations. Many people were staying home to avoid the virus and take care of their health. The decline in donors was thankfully slightly offset by hospitals deciding to cancel all elective surgeries which decreased the need for blood. When hospitals resumed these procedures and things began to go on more normally, we were hopeful that our donors would return.

Unfortunately, we are seeing fewer donors than when the pandemic first began. That combined with resumed travel and elective procedures has led us into a critical situation. Ideally, we would see 540 donors a day and keep a five-day supply of blood on our shelves, however, we have been struggling to even keep one-day’s supply of several types including the universal type O. This has been an ongoing issue for several weeks and the only way to solve this problem is for our donors to come back and for new donors to give.

We are the steward of the blood supply, ensuring it goes where it is needed, but our donors are the literal life-blood of our organization. Without our community’s support, we can’t effectively supply our area hospitals. We are the sole supplier of all Chattanooga area hospitals and patients in those hospitals count on Blood Assurance. When you give with Blood Assurance you are giving local. Donating blood with other organizations, such as The Red Cross, will help patients in need, but they will not be patients from our area. To truly help our local patients and hospitals we need our community to give with Blood Assurance.

I cannot stress enough the importance of blood donation and giving locally, but I hope readers will understand how essential giving blood truly is to the health and overall well-being of our community. If you can, please consider giving blood at Blood Assurance. It takes about 30 minutes and saves three lives in our community. To schedule, donors can visit bloodassurance.org, text BAGIVE to 999777, or call 800-962-0628. 

J.B. Gaskins

* * * 

Dear Mr. Gaskins, may I begin this letter by expressing gratitude to you and to your entire team, and to those local heroes, like Mr. Fant, who for so many decades have worked tirelessly to assure that our friends and neighbors possess an adequate supply of blood when the need arises.

I have considered it a privilege to be a Blood Assurance donor for more than a decade, and I intend to remain so for life. Your staff have always treated me with care, courtesy and respect, and I have a even had the pleasure of meeting you in person during those times when you have so graciously walked around the donation center to personally thank donors.

I appreciated your letter to the Chattanoogan.com editorial page; and, as I read your words, I was, unfortunately, reminded of our city’s current— and sadly increasing—outbreaks of gun violence. These shootings are intentional acts of violence. With terrible consequences.

Bullet wounds often require emergency surgery and associated loss of blood and resulting blood transfusions. A drain on our community’s precious and limited blood supply.

It is my hope that every able-bodied citizen will heed your call and go to a Blood Assurance location to donate.

It is also my hope that every single member of our community, including those who are deliberately gunning down fellow citizens, will consider that it could be one of their own loved ones who has a medical or accidental emergency requiring a blood transfusion, and that the shooter’s act of gun violence, not so ironically, could leave one of their own, innocent, loved ones without the privilege of receiving life saving blood transfusions.

Local gun violence is, but should not be, a drain on our community’s blood supply. It is my hope that the gun violence will abate and that the glass is half full.

Michael Mallen



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