NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — March is American Red Cross Awareness Month and WAVY News 10 is proud to be a partner. For the entire month, 10 On Your Side is featuring the inspiring, life-saving work the American Red Cross does year-round.

They’re well known for their blood drives, and that’s what team members were up to this month at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

“This is a blood drive, with the Red Cross, sponsored in our hospital,” explained Dr. Michael Hooper, Chief Medical Officer at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. “We’re trying to get members of our staff members of the community to come in, give blood, and help support the clinical operations here.”

Dr. Hooper knows all too well the importance of readily available blood for patients. He acknowledges without a partnership with the Red Cross there are some life-saving measures that wouldn’t be possible.

Every day across the United States, the American Red Cross tells us more than 29,000 units of blood are needed. For everyone one person who donates, that’s about one unit of blood.

Blood drives like the one held at Sentara in early March help fill the massive needs all hospitals have.

“To give blood to support people through complex operations, to support patients that sustain some sort of traumatic injury motor vehicle accident… without a constant supply from partners like the Red Cross, we’d be unable to provide the best care to those patients in our community,” Dr. Hooper told 10 On Your Side.

To help provide the best care, the Red Cross hosts hundreds of well-organized blood drives every year.

“They run an incredibly efficient operation to make sure you get through here quickly,” said Dr. Hooper. “They’re extremely experienced at doing this and can make sure that it happens safely and that you’re well taken care of through the process.”

A process he says you can build into your monthly routine – for the better.

“I kind of think of it as you know… every other time I get a haircut, it’s kind of a signal to me that I need to get on the list to give blood,” Dr. Hooper explained. “This needs to become a habit really for all of us. I mean you can give blood on a regular basis we’re constantly needing it.”

Find your next local blood drive or nearest donor site here.

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