Hendrick Regional Blood Center is asking for donations in response to a national blood shortage.
Blood shortages are present on the East Coast of the U.S. and throughout Texas. Kelsey Caprio, donor recruiter, said a national shortage is always scary for any blood center.
“Usually during the holidays it is slower because life takes over, people are traveling and just don’t have the time,” Caprio said. “The other thing, is that its flu season. When you donate it is required of you to feel healthy and well. So, if you don’t feel well, we are not going to encourage you to donate because your body’s just not ready to do it. The combination of the holidays mixed with the sick season, is a recipe to go into a shortage. It was national but we were definitely feeling it here.”
There are a variety of ways to donate blood. One way is by visiting Hendrick Regional Blood Center at 1150 N. 18th Street, Suite 100, open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
Another option for donation is through blood drives. Caprio said they put on blood drives around Abilene and other communities like Albany, Eastland, Cisco and others within the Big Country area.
“There’s no substitute for human blood, just human blood, that’s all we can give somebody,” Caprio said. “So, if there’s a trauma that needs it, you can’t plan a trauma, no one knows when it’s going to happen. It’s really important we have blood on hand for them.”
Hendrick Regional Blood Center supplies blood for 17 area hospitals. Amanda Wherry, Hendrick Regional Blood Center coordinator, said they need roughly 60 donors per day to keep up with demand.
“When there are national shortages, where we go to then get our supply also couldn’t supply us,” Caprio said.
Blood supply is needed on-hand for routine heart surgery patients, cancer patients, babies in The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and more.
“Since there is no substitute for it, there’s only one way to help them and if we don’t have it, it kind of puts everyone at a standstill,” Caprio said.
Hendrick Regional Blood Center welcomes walk-ins. No appointment is needed to donate blood. To donate one must be 16 years or older and weigh at least 120 pounds. Parental consent is only required if the donor is 16 years old. All donors must pass a physical examination at the beginning of the donation process to ensure the donor is healthy and well. This includes checking the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and iron level.
A donor can donate whole blood, the most common form of donation, as frequent as once every eight weeks. Donors may receive a t-shirt or a hat upon donation.
“Without our donors, patients would go without lifesaving treatments,” Wherry said. “The biggest benefit for our donors is knowing they are making an impact on someone else’s life.”