LifeServe Blood Center’s Beth Phillips, says they had to cancel blood drives as the snow moved in. “This severe weather came right after the holidays, which is already a difficult time for use to collect because people are busy with fun activities with their friends and family,” Phillips says, “So this storm really couldn’t have come at a worse time for us and our collection efforts.”
A surge in the flu has sent people to the hospital and added another hurdle in efforts to collect blood. “If you have a cold or the flu, we ask that you wait for all of those symptoms have passed before you come in to donate with us,” Phillips says. She estimates they lost nearly 200 units of donated blood alone form storm cancellations. “Because we plan so far in advance because we have to get staff and resources to a site — if we cancel a blood drive or close early — we can’t make up for those units the very next day unless we see more people turning out for our events. We can’t host more events because we are limited in our resources,” according to Phillips.
Phillips hopes people will bundle up and take some time to donate yet this week as the temperatures warm up a bit. She says it takes less to an hour to donate, especially now with low wait times. Phillips says the actual donation takes only five to 10 minutes to complete. And while donating blood won’t cause the temperature outside to warm up, she guarantees it will give you a warm feeling.
“You’ll know that you saved three lives of people in your community, there’s really not better feeling than that,” Phillips says. She encourages you to go to www.lifeservebloodcenter.org to find a place to donate. Phillips says you will find a green button that says “donate now” and you can type in your zip code. “And you can see local blood drives near you, or you can call us at 1-800-287-4903,” Phillips says.
The center which serves 100 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, normally has a 3 to 5-day supply of blood on hand, but Phillips says they are down to less than a one-day supply of most types of blood.