You may not think about it around the holidays and Amanda Hess says that’s the problem.
“It’s challenging to bring in donors when they have so many other things going on,” says Hess.
Hess, the Director of Donor Relations at the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, says donations are down 20%.
Officials at the MVRBC says it’s because donors are very busy this time of year, but the other reason is the weather.
On Friday, December 20th, 2013, freezing rain and icy roads forced Central High School in DeWitt, Iowa to cancel class as well as its school-wide, community-wide blood drive. The event was expected to collect more than 150 donations.
“150 units of blood translates to about 450 patients that we might not be able to give products to,” says Hess.
Since it’s so unpredictable, Hess says wintry weather creates a slippery slope.
“Unfortunately, last weekend we lost about 100 units of blood as well because of the weather so it’s a compounding challenge.”
Hess says high school drives account for 12-13% of the MVRBC’s blood supply. The MVRBC is the sole supplier of our area’s hospitals.
“About one in seven patients in our hospitals will need a blood transfusion and that comes from the community, so your friends, your family… if anyone needs blood, it’s going to come from us,” says Hess.
“Every time you give blood, you’re giving the gift of life and it’s one thing around the holidays that doesn’t cost any money to give.”
Hess says the process of donating blood only takes about 10-15 minutes and with screening beforehand and refreshments afterwards it’s about an hour total.
For MVRBC locations and times of operation, click here.