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Blood donations needed to make up for holiday drop

December 27, 2018
Vitalant, formerly the Inland Northwest Blood Center, is asking the community to rally and help correct a sharp drop in donations during the holiday season. For December, Vitalant is already down more than 150 donors from their goal for the month. These goals are determined by the needs of the more than 35 hospitals across the Inland Northwest that rely on Vitalant to provide life-saving blood to their patients in need.

Vitalant is asking people to make it a priority to give blood this week and next if it is safe for them to do so. As the sole blood provider to more than 35 hospitals in the region, Vitalant requires more than 200 donors each day to safely meet the needs of our community’s patients. The blood supply is dependent on selfless donations from volunteer donors to ensure the lifesaving needs of the region are met.

While all blood and donation types are welcome, there’s a special need for type O-negative and platelets. O-negative, the universal blood type that’s always in high demand, can be given to patients of any blood type. It is often used for premature infants and trauma patients. Platelets are primarily used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Their shelf life is very short, only five days, while whole blood or red cell donations can last 42 days.

Vitalant assures the public that hospital and patient needs have been met and continue to be met, but are requesting the help from the public to build the blood supply back to safe levels.

About 30 percent of Vitalant’s blood supply goes to cancer patients across the Inland Northwest and one in seven people entering the hospital will need blood. Those relying on blood in the region receive that lifesaving blood from Vitalant.

Vitalant urges both existing and first-time donors of all blood types to visit www.vitalant.org or call 1-877-258-4825 to schedule an appointment at one of our three area donor centers or at one of our convenient blood drives.

Blood must be constantly replenished, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis. It can take 24 to 36 hours to collect, test, process and distribute blood where it’s needed. And, it’s the blood already on the shelf at hospitals that saves lives.

Individuals who are as young as 16 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood with parental consent.

There are two upcoming Bonners Ferry community blood drives in January; from 1 to 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, at the Bonners Ferry LDS Church, 6568 Alderson Lane, and  from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday, January 19, at Safeway.

© Kootenai Valley Times
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83806