In face of severe shortage, Red Cross asks Southern Utahns to be thankful and give blood

Zachary Sterbens gives a Power Red donation at a donor center in Utah, July 14, 2017 | Photo by Amanda Romney courtesy of American Red Cross, St. George News

ST. GEORGE The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage and urgently needs blood donors to give now to avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients. Dozens of opportunities to donate blood will be available throughout Southern Utah this holiday season.

Red Cross employee Bob Otwell prepares blood products for distribution to nearby hospitals, Houston, Texas, August 27, 2017 | Photo by Daniel Cima courtesy of American Red Cross, St. George News

“This time of year, as many give thanks for family, friends and good health, it’s important to remember that patients across the country cannot survive without your generosity,” Red Cross Biomedical Services Senior Vice President Cliff Numark said in a press release issued by The American Red Cross.

During September and October, the Red Cross collected over 21,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than what hospitals needed. Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

Fewer blood drives in September and October coupled with hurricanes Michael and Florence, which caused thousands of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected, were key contributing factors to the current blood shortage.

“From traumas to ongoing cancer treatments, the need for blood doesn’t stop for the holidays,” Numark said. “People can give back – and help those in need – by making a lifesaving blood or platelet donation now and hosting a blood drive in the weeks to come.”

Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter. An additional 4,300 blood drives nationally – and approximately 245 blood drives in Southern Utah – are needed in December, January and February to help stop the shortage from continuing throughout winter.

Donations often decline during the winter holidays when many groups postpone blood drives while regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Severe winter weather may also cause blood drive cancellations, contributing to fewer donations than needed.

To encourage donations around the Thanksgiving holiday, those who come to donate blood with the Red Cross this Wednesday through Saturday will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

‘If it weren’t for blood donors, my daughter would not be alive’

Kylee Durham, 11, had a rare type of vascular tumor in her right jawbone. When the tumor ruptured in August, the hemorrhage caused Kylee to lose so much blood that she needed two units of blood before an emergency embolization surgery to stop the bleeding.

Blood Drive Today sign directs people to a blood drive in Utah, July 23, 2015 | Photo by Amanda Romney courtesy of American Red Cross, St. George News

She required additional transfusions during surgery and received a total of eight units of blood, or about the total blood volume of an average adult, over a 12-hour period.

The surgery was successful, and Kylee had a partial resection of her jaw a couple of days after the embolization to remove the tumor. Now a few months post-surgery, Kylee is back at home, enjoying middle school and spending time doing the things she loves. Her mother, Brittany Durham, is grateful for the donors who helped save Kylee’s life.

“If it weren’t for blood donors, my daughter would not be alive. She nearly lost all of her blood. Blood donors saved her life,” Durham said in the Red Cross press release. “My dad has been a blood donor for years, and my whole family now are blood donors in honor of Kylee. I encourage people on a daily basis to go out and donate blood.”

How to help

Eligible donors can find a blood donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-733-2767.

Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the predonation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online on the day of their donation from the convenience of a mobile device, computer or through the Blood Donor App.

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this winter, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

Upcoming Southern Utah blood donation opportunities Nov. 19-Dec. 15

St. George

  • Nov. 19: 1-6 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Nov. 20: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Nov. 21: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Nov. 23: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Nov. 26: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 1731 S. Convention Center Dr.
  • Nov. 26: 1-6 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Nov. 27: 2-7 p.m., St. George Snow Canyon Stake, 1610 N. Dixie Downs Road.
  • Nov. 28: 1-7 p.m., Desert Edge Building in the cultural hall, 1905 Rustic Drive.
  • Nov. 29: 1:30-7 p.m., Bloomington Hills Stake – Brigham Road Chapel, 1222 E. Brigham Road.
  • Nov. 30: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Dec. 5: 1-7 p.m., 400 East 100 South Chapel, 85 S. 400 East.
  • Dec. 6: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Dixie Applied Technology College, 610 S. Tech Ridge Drive.
  • Dec. 7: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Dec. 10: 12:30-6 p.m., Foremaster Building., 1424 Foremaster Drive.
  • Dec. 11: 1-6 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.
  • Dec. 14: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. George Blood Donation Center, 476 E. Riverside Drive, Suite B6.

Ivins/Santa Clara

  • Nov. 23: 1-5 p.m., Santa Clara Utah Heights Stake, 1706 Desert Dawn Drive, Santa Clara.
  • Dec. 5: noon to 5 p.m., Rocky Vista University – Utah Campus, 255 E. Center St., Ivins.

Washington City

  • Nov. 28: 2-7 p.m., Washington Utah East Stake Center, 1835 Washington Fields Road.
  • Dec. 11: 7:45 a.m. to noon, Dixie Montessori Academy, 1160 N. 645 West.
  • Dec. 11: 3:30-7:45 p.m., Dixie Montessori Academy, 1160 N. 645 West.

Cedar City

  • Dec. 3: 1-6:30 p.m., Christ the King Catholic Church, 690 S. Cove Drive.
  • Dec. 4: 1-7 p.m., Cedar City Utah Stake Center, 725 S. 1100 West.
  • Dec. 5: 1-6 p.m., Cedar City Library, 303 N. 100 East.

Kanab

  • Nov. 20: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Kanab High School, 59 S. Cowboy Drive.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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