Shortage of Blood Donors Cause for Historic Low Blood Supply at LifeServe

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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  It is a quiet weekend at the Des Moines LifeServe location, a trend the blood center has recently seen all too often.

“We just haven’t seen the donor turnout that we’ve seen in previous years,” says Danielle West, spokesperson for LifeServe Blood Center.

Right now, the blood center has only a one to two-day supply of all blood types. It should have a four to five-day supply. Officials say these levels have been dangerously low since October.

“There is no substitute for blood, so if we don’t have generous blood donors come in the door to donate there is nowhere else we can get it,” West says.

The reason? West says it’s not because of a greater demand for blood, but rather a shortage of donors. This month, the center has seen roughly 6,700 donors. Four years ago, it was more than double that number.

Melissa Winters, a blood donor for more than a decade, used to be one of those people who stayed away from giving blood. That changed when her daughter was born with a condition requiring her to get her blood drawn monthly.

“She hates needles and I hate needles, and I just realized it was hypocritical of me to not donate blood because I was afraid of them when I’m making my two-year-old get her blood taken,” she says.

Winters says she gives blood regularly and has found the joy of helping people in need.

“It’s worth it. Especially if you are even in a position where you need blood. It’s good to have a karma balance,” she says.

LifeServe needs all blood types but is especially looking for O negative blood donors. It’s the universal blood type and can be received by all hospital patients. Currently, metro hospitals are having to receive blood from out of state.

LiveServe’s Des Moines and Urbandale locations will be open on Sunday from 8 a.m. until noon. Walk-ins are welcome.

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