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Blood shortage causing transfusion delay for San Diego girl with leukemia

Blood banks are pleading for people to donate blood to help cancer patients like 5-year-old Karina Willis and others needing blood.

SAN DIEGO — The blood supply in San Diego and nationwide is at the lowest it's been in decades which is delaying some surgeries and blood transfusions for cancer patients like 5-year-old Karina Willis.

“She is tired, she is in pain, she has low energy, and she is not Karina,” said Rick Willis, Karina’s father.

The San Diego Blood Bank says the nationwide blood shortage is affecting San Diego blood supply. They would like to have a seven-day supply but now they only have less than three days for all blood types.

“The shortage is really about mobile drives being canceled at this time,” said Claudine Van Gonka, San Diego Blood Bank, Community Relations and Marketing Director.

Many of the big suppliers hosting drives such as schools, businesses and churches are not having in their usual blood drives because of COVID-19.

“It is absolutely critical that we stabilize the blood supply,” said Van Gonka.

Karina’s family has hosted a San Diego Blood Bank drive and is planning for another one on December 5 at La Costa Canyon High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“When she gets the blood it helps her mood - it helps everything. It's amazing - an amazing thing,” said Willis.

Karina has spent the last year in and out of the hospital and she is at Rady Children’s now with a high fever. Videos on her Karina Kicks Cancer Instagram show she is mentally and physically strong.

“To do what she has done to go through what she has gone through is pretty amazing,” said Willis.

She loves taking care of her mom and dad, stuffed animals and her dog, Confetti.

Now she hopes you can help take care of her and so many other patients needing blood.

“There is absolutely no way she would be in remission without getting blood from the San Diego Blood Bank,” said Willis.

You can regularly donate blood every eight weeks, platelets every two weeks and plasma every 16 weeks. If you donate at the San Diego Blood Bank you can do it in her honor by using the code KK21. Her blood type is A positive but her family encourages people with all blood types to donate to help those in need.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego Blood Bank facing shortage, issues urgent call for donations - Sept. 2021