Central Blood Bank seeks more donors

BARNESVILLE — An area blood bank is reaching out to the community to help replenish their supply of the life-saving fluid.

Central Blood Bank is based in Green Tree, Pa., to serve western Pennsylvania, the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, and eastern Ohio. The bank holds blood drives in various communities, helping build up a valuable store of blood and plasma that can help save the life of someone who needs a transfusion. But with a severe decline in blood donations recently, Central Blood Bank is reaching out to the public to help build up their stock of blood.

The blood bank provides services to nearly 50 hospitals in the tri-state area, including Barnesville Hospital, Wheeling Hospital, and Reynolds Memorial Hospital, among others. The bank tries to keep a decent supply of all different blood types to help meet the needs of patients who require blood transfusions.

Of the three components of blood, platelets have a shelf life of five days, red blood cells are viable for 42 days, and plasma remains viable for whole year. The shelf life of the blood helps to emphasize the need for regular donations In particular, O-negative blood is especially important, as it is a “universal” blood type, and can be used by people of any blood type. According a a release from the Central Blood Bank, their current supply of O-negative is at a two-day supply- only half of the ideal quantity to support the needs of patients. Projections show that the deficit in blood donation is projected to continue throughout August.

Blood Bank spokesperson Kristen Lane said that the shortage is something of a mystery. The bank normally experience a bit of a slump, for several different reasons. Regular donors have their schedules change due to summer vacations and other summer activities, meaning that less people are donating on a regular basis. Lane added that the bank gets 20 percent of their donations from schools and colleges,and since students are home from the summer, they tend to lose those donors until school is back in session. At the same time, trauma ends to go up in the summertime, with more people outside and active. However, blood supplies are lower than they should be even for the summertime, leading to the concerns about the dwindling supplies.

“We’re really not sure what is going on,” Lane said. “This year is really different. It’s that way across the nation.”

Therefore, the Central Blood Bank is calling for anyone who is able to make a donation of blood if they can, helping to rebuild the supply for what is sure to be a busy summer.Lane said that the organization is looking for donors of all blood types to show up to drives and walk-in locations to give blood, which will go towards replenishing the supply. Lane added that people who are reluctant to donate themselves or can’t due to health reasons can still contribute, by simply sharing information on blood drives and encouraging people to show up. Every contribution will help the blood bank save lives with the donations.

It’s such an easy thing to do to donate,” Lane said. “Every donation can save up to three lives.”

For more information on blood drives in the area, visit donateblood.centralbloodbank.org or call 866-366-6771.