MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota residents are donating blood to fill a shortage this summer that a blood transfusion nonprofit warns is leaving hospitals in the region without enough donations to meet their needs.
Colleen Scott, a donor recruitment official for Vitalant, says the region’s blood supply was critically low in February because of people getting sick and snowstorms affecting blood drives. The blood transfusion group found that donations have significantly dropped in the summer months, when people are typically busier.
Scott said the supply was very low after Memorial Day, since holidays usually lead to more accident and trauma patients in need of blood.
Vitalant, which serves hospitals in North Dakota and parts of South Dakota, is working to address the shortage by hosting daily blood drives, reaching out to loyal donors and encouraging everyone to bring a friend.
Travis Dressler, Vitalant’s donor recruitment manager, said the Dakotas need 250 donations daily to serve the area’s hospitals.
The region is in need of all blood types, particularly O positive and O negative. A transfusion with O positive blood can go to 85% of the population, while O negative can go to anyone, according to Scott.
“People don’t usually donate because they aren’t asked,” Dressler said. “We ask people to step up.”
Bismarck resident Shannon Weber said she was encouraged to donate blood for the first time on Wednesday after learning about the shortage on social media.
Harley Simonson, who also donated blood at the Vitalant drive in Mandan this week, said she plans to continue donating. Simonson said she’s motivated to donate blood because of her younger sister, who needed transfusions during her spinal surgery because she had a dangerous bleeding condition.
“It’s a good thing to do . it makes you feel good about yourself,” she said.