SHORT SUPPLY: Blood Donations Critically Low

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In just one hour, you can save three lives.  Donations are needed now more than ever due to a nationwide blood shortage.   The American Red Cross says blood supplies are at a 15 year low.  The shortage is being felt here in the metro where the local blood bank only has a few day’s supply on hand.

“I have the capability so why not.  I do find it fun,” says Nick Kruger as he sits at LifeServe Blood Center with two needles sticking out of his arm.

What`s fun for one person is rewarding to another.

“It helps a lot of people.  You`ll never meet them, but it does help a lot of people,” says Don Poffenbarger of Indianola.

The center relies on regular donors to keep Des Moines hospitals stocked with a life-saving supply of blood.  Ideally, they would have five days’ worth on hand.  But looking at all the empty shelves, you know there's nowhere near that much.

“Right now with some of our types, we have less than a day`s supply on our shelf and that`s concerning to us,” says Christine Hayes with LifeServe.

After being tested and labeled, the donations are sent to local hospital.

“It has such a short shelf life.  We have to make sure we have enough blood on our shelves at the times our patients need it,” says Hayes.

“I’ve always wanted to do is encourage other people to get involved, but it`s very hard to do,” says Poffenbarger who donates once a month.

“I wasn`t afraid of needles or anything which is most people`s biggest fear about it,” says Kruger.

Less than 40% of Americans are physically able to donate blood.  LifeServe says only about 4% of Iowans are regular donors.