Local blood centers are in urgent need of donors as the supply of available blood is nearing critical levels.
Impact Life is responding to a decrease in blood donations over the last few weeks. Manager of Public Relations for Impact Life, Kirby Winn says, the three-day weekends beginning with Memorial Day with the unofficial start of summer are some of the most challenging times in keeping enough stores of blood on hand at the blood centers.
Winn says the mobile blood drives as well as the centers have been collecting blood at a decreased level since about the middle of May. Impact Life measures the blood supply by estimating the number of days blood components are available, and Winn says just two weeks after Memorial Day, things are not looking good.
“We really want to be at a five-day supply for all blood types for all of the components that we provide for hospitals. At our very lowest, we are at about a one to two-day supply only for Type O negative and O positive. Type O red blood cells can go to every other blood type.
So they are very important for trauma, also for babies in neonatal, ICU, really a lot of use in both of those areas. So the type O and particularly type O negative, but O positive is also very important and very much in need, is at about a one to two day supply the way that we look at it.”
Winn says although the level of available supplies of type O blood is reaching a critical need, other blood types are not far behind. “Other blood types we are running two to three days, or three to four days, and so they are not all at that very low level across the board. But if we don’t improve our numbers we could be looking at critically low numbers for every blood type. Certainly, there is a great need to recruit and bring in and schedule more of those type O negative and O positive individuals, but there is really no blood type that we don’t need.”
Impact Life is a partner of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps, which was activated following the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Winn says although Impact Life was not on call that week, and no units of blood were sent from this area, the tragic shooting underscores how quickly an emergency need can become reality.
Winn says there are several ways people can find out how and where to donate. “You can search our scheduling system online and the easiest way to get to that is through our web page at bloodcenter.org. But it may be easier for some just to make a phone call. Our scheduling team will be glad to talk to anyone who calls at 800-747-5401 and we will help identify the next nearest mobile blood drive coming up in the community. Or if it’s convenient for that donor to schedule an appointment at one of our donation centers.”
Winn says those in the area who commute to Springfield can utilize the Springfield Impact Life Blood Center on Wabash Avenue. Anyone wishing to donate can also use the Impact Life Mobile app on their smart device to schedule an appointment to give blood. The app can be found on both Google Play and the Apple App Store.