A Message to the Thalassemia Community on the Blood Supply

March 19, 2020

Dear CAF Family,

We know that the current coronavirus situation is creating difficult and challenging times for everyone and want to reassure the thalassemia community that CAF continues to do everything in its power to keep advocating for those with thalassemia.

Recently, there have been significant concerns about the potential for blood shortages that could impact members of our community. The Foundation started raising this issue even before it got on the radar screen and continues to work to make the need for blood donations known to the public and to elected officials.  We have been in touch with many of our allies, such as Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America and the Columbus Citizens Foundation, to ask them to make their members aware of the need for blood donations at this time. We have also contacted many of our patient liaisons at pharma and biotech companies, urging them to also spread the word. And finally, we have reached out to numerous media outlets and  government officials to emphasize the need to let the public know that blood is needed and that action is required.

When we discussed the matter with representatives from the NY Blood Center, they told us that:

In our market, we have seen 75% of our incoming blood process dry up due to schools canceling, businesses closing, religious institutions cancelling blood drives, etc. Our solution is that we are shifting the focus to our donor centers and increasing our capacity to seven days a week and doubling shifts for donors. This will allow us to provide a controlled safe environment for our donors. We want donors to make appointments so we can honor the need for social distancing.

This approach is being put in place now. The best way for anyone to help is to encourage healthy donors to donate blood by making an appointment at their donor center. They should not panic. Our supply is healthy and we have solid plans in place.

We encourage all those in the thalassemia community to encourage friends, family members, colleagues, and social media contacts to consider making an appointment with a local blood bank to come in and make a blood donation. (Links below can help people find blood donation locations near them.)  Working together, we can help stem the blood shortage and keep the supply at adequate levels.

And in terms of concerns about transmission of coronavirus through blood transfusions, there continues to be no evidence that this virus will be able to infect the blood supply.  We are very thankful for this!

Finally, we encourage all of our patients and family members to take all the necessary precautions to stay healthy. Doing everything to decrease the possibility of coronavirus exposure is crucial.

We are all in uncharted territory, but CAF is committed to doing everything possible to help our community emerge from this situation strong and healthy. Together, we can all make a huge difference!

Peter ChiecoCraig Butler
National PresidentNational Executive Director

Looking to donate blood? The links below can help you find a location near you:



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