LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)   —  The Red Cross is reporting an urgent need for blood and platelet donations all over the country.

CBS2’s health reporter Lisa Sigell went to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to find out how the shortage is affecting Los Angeles.

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She said the efforts to recruit donors there is intensifying.

Sigell spoke to Raul Gonzalez, the hospital’s head of blood donor recruitment.

Right now, keeping 11-year-old Azaria Robinson alive is his top priority.

Robinson has sickle-cell anemia and needs a blood transfusion every three weeks.

Gonzalez says if she doesn’t get the transfusion of healthy blood every three weeks, she is at risk of excruciating pain or worse, a stroke.

“If it’s not her life,” Gonzalez says, “it’s another life.”

The little girl lives in Moreno Valley, far from Children’s Hospital.

Gonzalez wants her friends and family to roll up their sleeves and donate as well. He’s offering to bring the hospital’s Blood Mobile to them.

“Right now, we really need the blood,” he says.

Gonzalez showed Sigell the shelves of donated blood at Children’s Hospital. They are practically bare.

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The shortage happens every summer. People who normally donate go on vacation.

“But our patients are still here,” he says, “and they need blood.”

The need is something he relates to on a very personal level.

Gonzalez needed many transfusions 16 years ago while he battled leukemia.

He worries about the many children who follow in his steps now.

“We need the public to step up,” he says. “It doesn’t cost you anything.

When she is back on her feet, Robinson said she is most looking forward to a trip to Sea World.

“I love to sit in the front row and get all wet,” she says.

While there is currently a shortage of all blood types, Gonzalez said there is particular need for O-positive and O-negative.


Donate Blood To Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

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The American Red Cross