LifeServe Blood Center’s Beth Phillips says they had to cancel blood drives all across the region as the snow moved in and left extremely cold weather in its wake.
“This severe weather came right after the holidays, which is already a difficult time for us to collect because people are busy with fun activities with their friends and family,” Phillips says, “So this storm really couldn’t have come at a worse time for us and our collection efforts.”
A surge in cases of influenza has sent people to the hospital and added another hurdle in efforts to collect blood. “If you have a cold or the flu, we ask that you wait for all of those symptoms to have passed before you come in to donate with us,” Phillips says.
She estimates the center lost nearly 200 units of donated blood due to storm cancellations.
“Because we plan so far in advance because we have to get staff and resources to a site, if we cancel a blood drive or close early, we can’t make up for those units the very next day unless we see more people turning out for our events,” Phillips says. “We can’t host more events because we are limited in our resources.”
She hopes people will bundle up and take some time to donate yet this week and says it takes less to an hour to donate, especially now with low wait times. Phillips says the actual donation takes only five to 10 minutes to complete.
And while donating blood won’t cause the temperature outside to warm up, she guarantees it will give you a warm feeling. “You’ll know that you saved three lives of people in your community, there’s really not a better feeling than that,” Phillips says.
The center serves about 100 hospitals in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. It normally has a three-to-five-day supply of blood on hand, but Phillips says they are down to less than a one-day supply of most types of blood.
She encourages you to go to www.lifeservebloodcenter.org to find a place to donate.