Blood donations needed after ‘bomb cyclone’ cancels drives across region
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Last week’s “bomb cyclone” brought blizzards, hurricane-force winds and massive flooding across the country.
It also forced the cancellation of numerous blood drives, leaving a shortage in what typically is a reliable supply.
In Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota, the severe storm caused the cancellation of 25 drives and a deficiency of about 900 units of blood, according to Vitalint, a national nonprofit transfusion organization.
What: Blood drive
When: 12:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21
Where: UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center main entrance, 1024 Central Park Drive
“It’s a really simple thing to do, and it saves lives,” said Barbara Hughes, blood drive coordinator at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.
Hughes and about 10 other volunteers will be assisting at Thursday’s community blood drive.
For every unit of blood — about a pint — a person can donate, three people are helped, Hughes said. That person is potentially a burn victim, a woman giving birth or someone undergoing surgery.
And, just about every healthy individual can donate, Hughes said, with only a few exceptions.
“It’s a really great way to help people,” she said. “It doesn’t cost anything and only takes about an hour.”
The blood draw itself takes about five to 10 minutes, but donors must first fill out a fairly extensive health questionnaire. With snacks donated by Soda Creek Pizza and Honey Stinger, as well as some provided by Vitalint, donors are encouraged to stay and hang out afterward, to make sure they feel okay and aren’t lightheaded, Hughes said.
Plus, in a small town where a lot of the donors are regulars during the five blood drives held every year, people end up staying to socialize, she said.
“We have a lot of donors who have literally donated many gallons,” Hughes said. “But, we are always looking for new ones.”
Every blood type is needed.
They get at least 100 people at every drive, she said, either by appointment or walk-ins.
To schedule an appointment, go to vitalint.org or call 303-363-2300.
Walk-ins are welcome at the main entrance of the hospital, and the best time for walk-ins is after 4:30 p.m. Donors should bring a photo I.D. and also eat and drink plenty of water prior to donating.
To fill out the questionnaire beforehand, go to vitalant.org, click on “Donate” and then select “Fast Track.”
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