The American Red Cross announced that its blood supply reached emergency levels nationally on Wednesday.
The announcement came as parts of West Texas is suffering its own blood shortage. United Blood Services reported “critical” levels in the Permian Basin.
Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene said they were trying to stay ahead of the shortage.
"Typically blood centers have a blood shortage every summer," said Francis Baker, donor recruiter at Hendrick Meek Blood Center. "Ours is very moderate right now. It's not severe, but we're trying to be proactive."
Baker said blood shortages are much more common in the summer months. She said it has a lot to do with school being out and people leaving on vacation.
“Our high school students are a big part of our donor base,” Baker said.
The shortage is mostly regarding type ”O” negative, which can be used in transfusions for all blood types.
Only 7 percent of people in the U.S. have “O” negative blood.
Baker encourages everyone who is eligible to donate.
“Blood donation is virtually painless, and the reward you get in saving a life makes any kind of discomfort well worth it," Baker said.
For one donor, the reward of saving a life was worth every prick.
"I couldn't join the military, couldn't be a police officer. I have bad vision, and so it's something I can do to help other people," said Susan Hickmott, who had been donating blood every few months for the last year.
Donors are able to give blood every eight weeks and, according to the Red Cross, one donation can save up to three lives.
Baker said to attract new blood donors, the Meek Blood Center is having a drawing every month to give away four Texas Rangers tickets, a one-night stay in a hotel, parking passes and a gift card for incidentals.
But the real prize, she said, is knowing you helped someone in need.
"Healthy people don't miss that pint of blood that they donate, but it can mean life or death to someone whose health has been compromised because of blood loss," said Baker.