DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- For 40 years Jim Murray has been giving blood. That means every eight weeks you can find him at the Durham Red Cross making his donation count.
"My mother-in-law had a need for regular transfusions," said Murray. "It becomes personal when you have someone you know who needs blood."
While he doesn't know who he's helping, he does know where his blood is going.
"As far down as Wilmington and the Eastern part of North Carolina," he said. "Often here at Duke and Chapel Hill because there's such a need in this area."
The American Red Cross is calling for blood donations. The nation is facing the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. It's a drop of 40 percent. Type O is needed most.
Schedule your appointment now for the ABC11 Together Blood Drive 2024 on Wednesday, January 10.
"During the holiday season is when we start to see that drop in blood donors, but this particular year from December to January we saw a drop of 7000 blood units," said American Red Cross Regional Communications Manager Tai Wong,
It's an emergency blood shortage the Red Cross said could delay medical procedures. Dr. Nick Bandarenko is Duke Health's Medical Director of transfusion services. He told ABC11 that when patients are admitted, they expect the hospital to have blood.
"Surgery, transplant or accident in a car. Suddenly there's a need for blood," said Dr. Bandarenko. "The Red Cross is one of the major suppliers in our region. They've asked us to exercise conservation measures to make sure those who truly need blood will have it available."
According to Bandarenko, young people should donate. It's a group he's working nationally to target, but as the need for blood reaches critical levels donor Murray said he will continue to do his part. He recently celebrated a major milestone in giving blood.
"The Red Cross recognizes you for every gallon and now I'm up to my four-gallon pin and a couple beyond that," he said.