Local Blood Center Short on Supply

Published 01/27 2014 10:34PM

Updated 01/27 2014 10:57PM

With regular donors and multiple blood drives, it's not often that local blood centers are low on supply. January is 'National Blood Donors' Month', and along with summer time, it's one of the most critical times of the year to donate blood. The Meek Blood Center at Hendrick Medical Center usually holds at least one blood drive each day of the week. It's latest one was on Saturday at the blood center.  At least 100 people were needed to make the drive a success, but only a quarter of that came to donate blood.

Today, Jodi Wallace was just one of a number of people who stopped by the center to do their part in helping to save lives in the Big Country. Wallace isn't from Abilene, but says he and his wife drove in from Cedar Creek to help a friend in need of his rare, O- blood type.

"I came to donate blood for a friend," says Wallace. "I was called and they needed the blood, so I'm here."

Both he and his wife, who hadn't donated blood until today, donated not one, but two, units of blood today.

Business and marketing manager of Meek Blood Center, Frances Baker says, "typically when we make a community appeal, we'll have between 75 and 100 people come in."

But she says that hasn't been the case in recent blood drives, which is one reason why the center, like others across the country, is facing a shortage in blood supply.

"We have to bring in about 60 units of blood every day to supply all of the hospitals," Baker explains.

Currently, the center serves 18 hospitals in 15 different counties. That adds up to more people the center has to serve, but it also pumps life into the possibility of more donors of all blood types.

"The average shelf life on a unit of O+ is only about 3 and a half days, and O- is two and a half days."

The two most common blood types are O+ and A. Baker says the center goes through these types the most. She says it's in dire need of donors of the O- blood type. According to Baker, nearly every unit of blood donated is useable.
She says there have been few cases in which the blood donated did not pass testing because of traces of diseases or infections.

Jodi Wallace says he came to Meek today for a friend, but says whether it's a friend in need of blood or a stranger, he believes he always has more than enough blood to spare.

" I've never been told I'm too full of blood," jokes Wallace.

And Baker says if more people realized the joy donating blood brings, then maybe they too will be as willing to take 45 minutes out of their day to help save at least 3 lives.

"We never know from day to day what's going to happen," Baker says. "We never know about accidents, about how many surgeries are going to require . We have to always feel comfortable and make sure that we're able to supply the need that's out there." 

Baker says students at local colleges and schools make up a large portion of the center's regular donors. The center's blood mobiles will be at Hardin-Simmons University from 9-4 p.m. They will be parked outside of the Behrens Auditorium. Then on Thursday, the blood mobiles will be at McMurry University outside of the Garrison Campus Center from 11-6 p.m.  Baker says you do not have to be a student or faculty member of either school to donate blood on campus.

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