MASON CITY — The next two weeks represent the most difficult time of the entire year for the LifeServe Blood Center, as donors become scarce due to things like holiday travel, flu season and the winter weather.
Danielle West, a spokeswoman for LifeServe, says they’re taking donations six days a week at seven Iowa donor centers, in addition to mobile blood drives across about 90-percent of the state. “We have a lot of fun blood drives going on — on Christmas Eve, the day after Christmas, the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s,” West says. “We’re just trying to remind people that we still need blood donors to come in because unfortunately, there’s still a lot of people in hospitals that need those blood transfusions.”
A single blood donation can save the lives of up to three local hospital patients. “We really could use all blood types, definitely the O-negative and O-positive, those are used most often in hospitals, so we truly bug our O donors pretty often,” West says. “Platelets are always in need as well. It takes a bit longer to make a platelet donation but a lot of those go to cancer patients.”
LifeServe Blood Center is the sole provider of blood to more than 120 hospitals across Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. “If you’ve never done it before, it takes 45 minutes to an hour from start to finish to give that pint of blood,” West says. “We take that and separate that out into red cells, platelets and plasma, so it truly is going to impact three different lives in this community because we’re the only ones supporting these local hospitals in our areas.”
LifeServe has a donor center in Mason City. For more information or to set up an appointment, visit lifeservebloodcenter.org or call 800-287-4903.