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Holiday donations urged to prevent blood shortage
Puget Sound Blood Center issued an urgent appeal recently for blood donors to take just one hour between now and Jan. 5, 2014 to give blood.
The number of people visiting donation centers and mobile drives goes down by 30 percent or more during the holiday season – with high schools and colleges on break, and people busy with vacations, family gatherings and social events.
“Today, we’re launching a special appeal for the holiday season by asking people to make sure the blood supply is there for people who need it every day, even during holidays,” said David Leitch, director of donor and volunteer resources for the Puget Sound Blood Center. “This year, the calendar presents a special challenge: Wednesday is our biggest collection day of the week, and this year both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Wednesday,” Leitch said. “Losing these high volume collection days means a much greater risk of a shortage.”
”We’re asking people to schedule just one hour during the next four weeks to donate blood,” Leitch said. “That will carry us through the holidays so we can avoid an emergency shortage down the road if blood supplies become depleted, especially if we’re hit with snowy weather.”
The center needs to collect about 900 donations every weekday to ensure a stable supply of blood components for the 75 hospitals and clinics it serves in the region.
The demand for blood components is continuous: patients in hospitals are still undergoing surgeries, ERs are treating traumatic injuries, people are receiving treatments for cancer, and surgeons are performing organ transplants - all depend on the blood supply to be there.
There is a specific need for O-negative blood donors: “universal donors” whose blood can be given to patients with any other blood type.
“Please, take time between now and Jan. 5 to give blood,” Leitch said. “It only takes an hour, and we can all enjoy the holidays knowing there is an adequate supply of blood available.”
People can go to one of 11 donor centers in Western Washington, or check for community blood drives underway close to where they live or work. Information about locations and times can be found at psbc.org. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made online at schedule.psbc.org or by phone by calling 1-800-398-7888.
The Federal Way center is located at 1414 South 324th St., Suite B101.