As National Blood Donor Month winds down, the American Red Cross is gearing up its efforts to recruit blood and platelet donors throughout the continuing winter season. In the Lewis and Clark Blood Services Region, comprised of Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Montana, winter donations are down, and the Red Cross has issued an urgent plea for increased public involvement to meet the demand for lifesaving blood.
“This year has been really brutal when it comes to the winter weather,” said American Red Cross spokesperson Natividad Lewis. “Since the beginning of the year, snow and icy roads have forced 11 blood drives to cancel in the region, resulting in 400 uncollected donations.”
To put the numbers in perspective, the Lewis and Clark Region requires 670 blood donations every day to provide adequate supply to hospitals and transfusion centers throughout the region. Given that just one donation can save up to three lives, a January deficit of 400 blood donations is significant. Between November and December, nearly 900 fewer donations were given than needed.
“The region needs to recover from this deficit,” said Lewis, “and we’re making an emergency callout to donors. All blood types are needed, and O, B negative and A negative are in particularly high demand.”
According to the American Red Cross, there is need for donated blood somewhere in the United States every two seconds, and donated platelets are needed every 30 seconds. To meet this need locally, eight blood drives are scheduled in Logan within the next two weeks:
<ul><li>1/31/2017: 2:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., USU Married 1st Stake, 970 N. 1200 E.</li><li>1/31/2017: 2:00 p.m. to 8 p.m., Logan Utah YSA 6th Stake, 720 East 1300 N.</li><li>2/1/2017: 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Prismview, 1651 N. 1000 W.</li><li>2/2/2017: 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Logan Utah Stake, 645 South Trail Circle</li><li>2/7/2017: 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Logan South Stake, 340 W. 700 S.</li><li>2/8/2017: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., USU Merrill – Cazier Library, 3000 Old Main Hill</li><li>2/9/2017: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., GE Healthcare, 925 W. 1800 S.</li><li>2/14/2017: 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Logan Utah YSA 2nd Stake, 1295 North 800 East</li></ul>
General <a href=”http://eligibility%20requirements/”>eligibility requirements</a> to donate blood are available at <a href=”http://www.redcrossblood.org/”>www.redcrossblood.org</a> and include being at least 17 years of age, weighing at least 110 pounds and having overall good health. More specific guidelines and restrictions result in only 38 percent of the population being eligible to give blood, and just 10 percent of eligible donors actually contributing.
“For people who come out to donate, you’re doing a good deed,” said Lewis. “You’re making an impact on your community. Our mission is to make sure that the blood is available whenever and wherever it’s needed, and the only way to do that is to depend on volunteers to come and give blood.”
Luckily, she noted, the American public is very supportive when calls for increased donations are made. She worries, however, about the consequences of particularly heavy snow and frigid weather slowing blood donations.
“Despite the weather, hospital patients still need transfusions,” she said. “As much of a struggle as it is for us and our donors, it doesn’t match the struggle that patients will have to go through if the blood is not available. We’re just trying to make it known that patients still need blood, that the blood that is being distributed to the hospitals is outpacing the amount of donations coming in, and that is definitely not a situation we want to be in because that can very possibly affect patients.”