Blood donors become scarce during the holidays so Iowa’s largest blood bank is launching a host of promotions. Among them, donate a pint on Christmas Eve and any packages you bring in will be gift-wrapped. Christine Hayes, spokeswoman for the Blood Center of Iowa , says two types of blood are in particular demand.
They’re in need of donors with type-O-negative and O-positive, the two most common types of blood. Hayes says donating whole blood typically takes 45 minutes. Eligible donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 120 pounds and be in good health. She says people who otherwise donate routinely are often bumped out of those routines by year-end vacations and activities.
"Unfortunately, during the holiday season, many of us forget we need to take time out to give blood," Hayes says. "We collect blood six days a week, every week of the year, so when we have a holiday thrown in the middle of that where we’re unable to collect the blood that we need, it makes us a bit uncomfortable going into those holiday stretches." She says blood donors save up to three lives with each donation, yet fewer than eight-percent of the Iowa population donates blood.
Hayes says the blood center has to collect more than 100-thousand units of blood each year to meet the needs of its communities.
"We actually supply 49 hospitals in 45 Iowa counties so our blood supply is greatly impacted by the amount of hospitals we serve," she says. The Blood Center of Iowa has seven donation locations: Ames, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Marshalltown, Waterloo and West Des Moines. People can register to donate at any of the donor centers online.