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'People need us': North Texans stepping up to donate blood, as Red Cross announces nationwide shortage

"People need us, our blood and our plasma," said Jacqueline Travis.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Due to a nationwide shortage, there are more blood drives taking place all over North Texas, including several in Fort Worth.

The Red Cross is parking their clearly marked donation vans -- hoping to get donors to stop in, even if it's for personal reasons.

Jacqueline Travis is not new to donating blood. She does it around the same time every year to help people. 

"People need us, our blood and our plasma," said Travis.

Blood shortage or not, Travis planned on donating blood at the start of her day. But now, it's a personal mission every January because of her late sister.

"Today is the anniversary of my sister's passing," Travis said. " She passed away from Leukemia. Even before she was sick, I am an educator, I have donated my blood." 

Travis's sister Stacy Loudon lost her battle with Leukemia about three years ago. She keeps photos of her sister on her Facebook page. Her favorite photo is Stacy giving two thumbs up surrounded by family doing the same thing.

Credit: Jacqueline Travis

The two sisters may not be able to hug in person anymore. So, doing something in her memory is just the same.

" [It's] Why I feel it's critically important that we give back, and this is the one thing we can do," said Travis. 

She hopes others also donate, especially since nationwide, the American Red Cross has not seen a blood shortage like this in 10 years.

As an educator, Travis even witnessed teenagers step up to donate blood in time of need. 

Travis said she's not a fan of needles, but she considers it a small inconvenience --  thinking about the many times her sister had to have a needle used for treatments during her illness. It's another reason why Travis showed up at the blood drive to help with the shortage underway in Texas and other parts of the country.

Mobile blood drives are scheduled to take place across the country almost every day this month. Several are planned in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

RELATED: Red Cross declares 1st national blood crisis; says donations urgently needed

Organizations, like the Dallas Alumni Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, have teamed up with the American Red Cross to boost blood donations. The fraternity is hosting a blood drive in Dallas.

Red Cross workers have trained, so donors can also be worry-free from COVID too.  

Angie Springs is one of the spokespersons for American Red Cross working not only to share the dire need but also help get the word out that the organization is looking for more partners.  Her job is also to help assure donors that they will be safe giving blood during the pandemic. 

"From cleaning protocols that are in place, to social distancing as well as we have also encouraged an appointment," said Angie Strings.

There are some restrictions spelled out on the American Red Cross' website about who is eligible to donate blood. The organization also dismisses some of the myths with a YouTube video with information surrounding who can donate and who can not donate. 

Click here for more information. 

American Red Cross has also teamed up with members of the LGBTQ+ community to assure non-discriminatory practices for donating blood. 

The American Red Cross is calling all donors to help with their blood crisis, which is something Travis believes everyone can play a role in. 

"I just think that we can be that change," Travis said. "The one thing we can do is give to others and be kind." 

Click the link for more information about donating blood: www.redcross.org.

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