Roll up a sleeve

Blood donations are in highest need as hospitals approach critical supply

By Kelly Williams

Blood supply across Indiana is lower than normal creating what Celina Fabrizio, vice president of National Media Relations for Versiti Blood Center of Indiana, calls a dire state of need.

“Between the tragedies that have struck the Midwest recently as well as loss of appointments due to the holidays and special events, the need is more than urgent,” Fabrizio stated.

Versiti is a lead supplier of blood services, products and specialty services to more than 60 hospitals throughout Indiana and explains that over 2,400 blood donations per day are required in order to maintain a safe and adequate supply of blood for patients in need within Indiana.

The American Red Cross broadens Versiti’s explanation by citing that every two seconds a person in the United States needs blood or platelets.

Regardless of geographical location, a donor’s generosity of one hour of time and a pint of blood has the potential to save three people’s lives who may be facing surgery, an organ transplant, suffer a traumatic injury, be burned, have a blood disorder and/or suffer from pregnancy complications.

The demand for both blood types remains high even though the most common blood type donated is O-positive. However, because O-negative blood is able to be administered to anyone, it is often in the greatest demand with the shortest supply with only 7 percent of Americans being O-negative blood types.

“As hospitals approach critical supply shortages, decisions about use and conservation of supply can’t help but be made. There is no substitute for blood, it must be donated,” Fabrizio stated.

Russell Broughton (left), Melanie Allen, Jessica Minton, Lesley Rhoden, Carrie Hanni, Mitchell Hartz, Alex Huth and Kristina Lakins participated in a blood drive at Kemper CPA. Similar drives in the area will help with blood shortages. (Photo provided by Kemper CPA)

Many Southside businesses and organizations have hosted blood drives for years and continue to do so during this time. Greenwood VFW Post 5864 has held a few successful blood drives with another company and will be home to a drive with Versiti on March 15 from 2 – 6 p.m. at 578 Commerce Parkway W. Drive.

“We will probably do this two or three times a year,” said Steve Milbourn, commander of the post. “As veterans, we have a higher calling, and it is important that we help those who need help.”

Beginning with registration, then a brief medical screening, blood donation, then refreshments, the whole process takes on average one hour, while the actual blood draw itself takes just about six minutes, and most anyone is eligible.

Donors 17 years or older are eligible without parental consent, while 16-year-olds are able to donate but require parental authorization. All donors much have a photo ID that includes their birth date, and vaccinated individuals must wait 48 hours after receiving the vaccine before donating blood.

Donating blood is one way to show civic responsibility while, for local businesses, faith-based organizations, school and youth groups and community or civic clubs hosting a blood drive is another. Creating a theme around your blood drive or partnering with other local organizations who are willing to engage in a little blood drive competition are easy suggestions that can help create a fun atmosphere to encourage donors to participate.

For those interested in hosting a local drive, contact Shannon Crawford, Donor Recruitment, Versiti/Indiana Blood Center at (317) 995-1713 to schedule a time when the blood mobile is available.

Versiti’s website states that donating blood is a great way to show civic responsibility, community pride and maturity. Additionally, it encourages its regular blood donors to please donate again. But for those who have never donated blood, now is a great time to step forward and help save lives because blood on the shelves today saves lives tomorrow.

For more information on donating blood, donation sites, hosting a blood drive and/or other questions regarding blood donorship please go to versiti.org.

Where are the local Versiti blood drives?

Greenwood Christian Church

2045 Averitt Road, Greenwood

Feb. 13, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Rocklane Christian Church     

4430 Rocklane Road, Greenwood

Feb. 20, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Community Hospital South    

1402 E County Line Road, Indianapolis

Feb. 23, 3:25 – 6 p.m.

Franciscan Alliance – ESSC and Sierra Building

1040 Sierra Drive, Greenwood

Feb. 24, 8 – 10:30 a.m.

Franciscan Health at Stones Crossing

1703 W. Stones Crossing Road, Greenwood

Feb. 24, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.

New Hope Church       

5307 W. Fairview Road, Greenwood

March 3, 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.

VFW Post 5864      

578 Commerce Pkwy W Drive, Greenwood

March 15, 2 – 6 p.m.

Indiana Members Credit Union           

5103 Madison Ave., Indianapolis

March 21, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Greenwood Corner

8739 S. U.S. Highway 31 S., Indianapolis

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays

Schedule an appointment: (317) 888-5017

Find more at: donate.indiana.versiti.org/donor/schedules/county