BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – LifeSouth is reporting the worst blood shortage in over a decade, and it’s something blood donation centers and hospitals in Birmingham are facing right now.

Brian Garrett, Regional Director at LifeSouth, said it’s a combination of low donations before the holidays and now too many people sick with COVID-19 to donate or host donation events.

“In the 11 years I’ve been with LifeSouth, this is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Garrett said. “We’re having such a hard time. It’s hard to tell the hospitals no, but if you don’t have it, you don’t have it.”

Garrett said LifeSouth’s supply is nearly half of what it should be. He reports that this impacts more than trauma patients – it’s people who need regular blood transfusions that officials are most worried about.

Tiana Sharp, 7, is one of those patients who could need a blood transfusion without warning.

“It’s scary because she can have a crisis at any moment any time and might need blood,” Sharp’s mother Tiffani Moore said.

Sharp was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder that causes her excruciating pain, when she was an infant.

“If we don’t get healthy blood in her she’s going to sit more in pain, and it puts her at risk of organ damage and death,” Moore said.

Sharp is one of those patients who receives monthly transfusions that Garrett says will be harder to get.

“That’s probably where the blood shortage hurts the most,” Garrett said. “It’s not necessarily trauma like you would think, it’s more of those patients that need transfusions. Sickle cell, cancer patients, the ones that have ongoing issues that they require scheduled transfusions.”

Sharp and Moore are pleading that anyone who is healthy enough to do so, should donate. Moore said don’t be afraid of a little pain to help Sharp and hundreds of Alabamian children just like her.

“I can have a little bit of pain for like five seconds knowing that I’m saving and helping somebody who is in crucial pain,’ Moore said.

LifeSouth reports that one out of every three people will need a blood transfusion in their life. If you are concerned about getting on one of the center’s buses, you can stop by this LifeSouth location on Oxmoor Rd. during business hours and help someone in need by donating.

You can find more information on LifeSouth’s website.