Push for more donations and blood drives as Vitalant sees critically low supply

Local News

Eighty percent of Americans will need blood at some point in their lives.

However, only about 5 percent of Americans donate blood, and in North Dakota, less than 3 percent of the population donates.

Donors KX News talked to at the Garrison Community Blood Drive say it’s an easy way to give back.

“I understand there is a shortage out there and especially with everything going on in the world today, it’s something that I feel that everybody — if you’re capable of doing it, you should do it,” said Darryl Revier of Coleharbor.

He’s been giving blood for years and the need for more donors like him is huge.

Right now, Vitalant is at a critically low level of all blood types.

There is less than four days worth of blood supply on their shelves.

Type O is even more scarce. At times, there is less than two days’ worth.

“It’s scary thinking that if something happened to me or one of my family members that there wouldn’t be the needed blood there, so it just kind of re-enforces the decision to come out and donate when you can,” donor and Garrison resident Deleene Wilcox said.

Forty percent of Vitalant’s blood goes to cancer patients and that’s only a fraction of the circumstances that demand blood.

“We don’t think about it. We don’t think about the people that actually use the blood that we need,” Vitalant Donor Recruiter Teresa Johnson said.

With blood donations at a critical low, donations and blood drives like Garrison’s make the world of a difference.

“The Garrison Community Blood Drive is a blood drive that continues to grow,” said Johnson. “It was basically nonexistent five years ago and Dennis [coordinator] and his crew here in Garrison have done an amazing job.”

Last year, blood drives in Garrison brought in 267 units of blood.

So far this year, 210 units have been donated and another blood drive will be held in December.

To make up for the current shortage, Vitalant needs about 1,000 donations a day.

“That’s why these rural blood drives are so very important to bring the blood drives to the people when the donors can’t get into one of our centers in Minot, Bismarck, or Fargo,” Johnson added.

With less and less blood drives amid the pandemic and the winter holidays approaching, donors are urged to make the commitment to give.

A whole-blood donation only takes about one hour of your time.

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