Eastern Iowa blood centers use World Blood Donor Day to raise awareness of desperate need

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Jeanne Weber has been donating blood for more than 20 years.

”I was asked a long time ago just to donate at one of the churches and then, after that, they called me,” Weber said. “And so I started donating every eight weeks.”

Weber said she does it because she is retired, but also to help out those who need it.

”I just have time and it is something I just like to give back,” Weber said. ”It just feels good to give back to your community.”

However, unlike Weber, not many people have shown up to donate blood this year. Jason Schomburg, an associate donor relations consultant with ImpactLife, said summer is typically a slow time for donations. This year, though, it is even worse.

”We actually hit our lowest amount of donors in 15 months recently,” Schomburg said. ”People are getting out, they are enjoying the weather, and they kind of forget this need is still here and, in the event of an emergency, it is the blood on the shelf; that is what we need today.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in this as many blood drives have been canceled because of it.

Schomburg said ImpactLife serves around 120 hospitals in eastern Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and even Missouri.

”It is a lot of hospitals that we serve here in our area and we want to make sure that our friends and neighbors are taken care off,” Schomburg said.

ImpactLife hosted several blood drives on Monday to commemorate World Blood Donor Day and to encourage people to take the time to donate.

“It is maybe going be about an hour of your time and you can affect the lives of three people with one whole blood donation,” Schomburg said. “And if you think about that, that is just the three people that receive it, now think about those families and you might be giving people another meal with their families, another holiday and all the great things. You are really giving somebody another chance at life by doing something that is really pretty simple.”

Schomburg said that ImpactLife is trying a variety of things to encourage people to donate. Right now they are giving out $10 gift cards to those who take the time to donate blood. They are also trying to incentivize teenagers to do it, so they have established a program called the Impact Award: high school students who donate one gallon of blood before graduation will receive a red cord to wear with their cap and gown if their school allows it and will also get a certificate that acknowledges the achievement.

People interested in hosting a blood drive or in donating blood are asked to visit ImpactLife’s website for more information.

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