Winter storms forces blood drives to cancel, causing increased need for donations
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Blood donations are needed year-round to save lives. But the winter months are typically marked by busy holiday schedules, bad weather, and seasonal illness, which makes it difficult for blood donors to make and keep donation appointments.
Emily Jolin is the CEO of the Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin. She says right now they are in need of all blood types for whole blood donations and apheresis platelet donations.
Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin provides essential blood products to patients in Marathon, Langlade, Portage, Taylor, Wood, and Columbia counties.
“We had some big trouble with Mother Nature the last couple of weeks. And we actually had to cancel three blood drives, one of which was a high school right before the long Christmas weekend. So it really puts a damper on collections on the supply,” said Jolin.
Jolin said those cancelations likely resulted in the loss of 100 donations.
“That’s a very good chunk of our monthly collections, especially right before the long weekend,” explained Jolin.
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Donations to the Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin help local people.
“Every two seconds in the U.S. somebody needs a blood donation, it does not take a holiday. There are still surgeries, accidents, labor and delivery, and cancer treatments. It is all still happening even when the world kind of takes a break. There is no substitute. Blood donated or transfuse to patients has to come from a voluntary source,” Jolin explained.
Potential donors have to be 16 years old with a parent’s consent. Or 17 and older. Jolin said you do need to pass a health history questionnaire.
She said most prescriptions are OK. She said sometimes people think they can’t donate blood if they are on blood pressure medications.
The process to donate is fairly simple. Donors will register at the front desk. They’ll then receive a tablet with a health questionnaire.
“After that, you would move into the screening booth where they’ll do a mini-physical. An go through any questions/ answers that need to be addressed. You’ll make your way to the donation room where they’ll perform the actual phlebotomy. You will give that unit of blood. It really only takes 5-10 minutes-- that portion of it. We do tell you to give yourself about 45 minutes to an hour to make it through the whole process, especially if it’s your first time. After that, then you’ll move on to the post-donation area where you’ll have a snack or drink. We’ll make sure you’re feeling okay. And you’ll be on your way,” said Jolin.
January is National Blood Donor month. Jolin said it’s a time to say ‘thank you’ and acknowledge all the selfless blood donors that help their communities.
Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin also formed a partnership with the Community Blood Center in Appleton as part of Midwest blood centers.
“So we’re just looking forward to seeing what that partnership will bring and how it will help us serve our communities even more,” said Jolin.
The Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin is located at 211 Forest St, in Wausau. Walk-in donors are also welcome.
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