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Blood donation recipient shares importance of donors as Illinois hospitals cancel surgeries due to low supply

CHICAGO (WLS) – The blood supply in Illinois is currently very low. It’s so low that the Red Cross said hospitals have been forced to cancel surgeries.

But donors can help many patients, even the smallest in Chicago, by rolling up their sleeves.

Sometimes the smaller patients need the larger forms of support. And it’s nurses like Lucas Wesoloski who know first-hand the hardships children at Lurie Children’s Hospital face.

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“Our patients need blood transfusions on a daily basis,” said Wesoloski, who himself received a blood donation.

Wesoloski said his patients fight illnesses, like cancer and a host of blood disorders.

“It’s exhausting to say the least. Emotionally, physically,” Wesoloski said.

He said blood transfusions can often give them the strength they need to fight.

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“It’s not something that is a luxury, it’s a need,” he said. “This is something our patients need to survive their treatment.”

The 25-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia as a child and knows firsthand how important blood donation is.

“It shook my whole family,” Wesoloski recalls.

He said the transfusions played a huge role in the success of his treatment.

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“Blood products, if you’re in short supply, it’s not like you can find a magical supplier. You can’t produce this on a whim. We need donors,” Wesoloski said.

But, with a critical blood shortage right now, there are concerns about what will happen if donors do not answer the cry for help.

“Our patients are begging them from their hospital rooms to come out and donate,” he said.

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Wesoloski has been in remission for many years now and is now caring for children who are going through the same reality he went through.

If you would like to donate, you can subscribe to the Great Chicago Blood Drive to be held next Tuesday and Wednesday at several locations.

Make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible by using the Red Cross blood donation app, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) .

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