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Blood centers ask for more donors as hospitals sit at one day supply of some blood types

Hospitals are in crucial need of blood. Blood centers across the country are reporting declines in donations in recent weeks.
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 4:44 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center has a new name. It’s now known as ‘ImpactLife.’ It says the change will better align with donors in the region.

This comes as blood centers across the nation, including ImpactLife, report a concerning need for donations.

ImpactLife serves around 120 hospitals across the Midwest. Donor Relations Coordinator Lisa Sparrow says many local hospitals tell them they’re in dire need of blood.

Sparrow says hospitals currently only have a one-day supply of O negative blood, the universal donor, on hand. And there’s only a two-day supply of O positive and B negative available.

Before the pandemic, people could just walk in to donate, but now appointments are required. Sparrow says donors have been adaptable overall and she doesn’t think people getting vaccinated before they donate has led to the decrease.

“We obviously want to make sure people are feeling well and feeling their best of the day of donation, so if someone isn’t feeling well after that then this wouldn’t be the day to donate. But in terms of deferral, there’s no deferral with getting the vaccine and donating blood,” Sparrow said.

Each week, ImpactLife needs around 3,500 red blood cells to make sure local hospitals have a comfortable level of inventory. They’re falling short by about 500 red blood cells each week.

But some are still diligent in donating blood.

James Lippe is a senior at City High in Iowa City. He started donating blood two years ago after his 16th birthday. Lippe donates platelets at the DeGowin Blood Center and is close to reaching a four-gallon milestone.

”With every donation, I feel like I save at least one life with that donation. It’s just become one of those important things I incorporate into my life,” Sparrow said.

Once he reaches four gallons, Lippe will have donated 32 times in two years. He says he donates every three weeks.

Lippe says he appreciates the support, but he doesn’t want to stop here. He plans on being a life-long donor like his dad, and hopes his story inspires others to donate as well in a crucial time of need.

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