The following is from an OBI news release:
As winter weather began moving in earlier this week, blood donors began canceling appointments and blood drives were delayed, forcing an already struggling blood supply to critically low levels.
Our Blood Institute (OBI) in Arkansas is asking donors to reschedule appointments as the weather clears.
OBI says a significant number of appointments across its five donor centers in Arkansas were cancelled. Before yesterday’s storm, donations were already down from expected collections. OBI typically has a three- to five-day supply of blood available but is well below that level now. This could impact hospital needs.
Those who donate at a donor center Wednesday, Jan. 25 and Thursday, Jan. 26 will receive their choice of a winter hat, gloves or ice scraper. Please note all donor centers will be open.
Successful donors will also receive an alien-themed “Save the Humans” T-shirt.
OBI needs 1,200 blood donations each day to maintain an ample supply of blood for state hospitals.
“January is always a difficult time as blood donations typically slow, and the winter weather is magnifying the problem,” said John Armitage, M.D., OBI president and CEO. “Since the start of the year, blood donations are suffering substantially, and fewer people are donating. We need the public to step up and help secure their community blood supply.”
Anyone who is healthy and 16 years old* or older can donate. Blood can be donated every 56 days. Platelets can be donated as often as every seven days, up to 24 times a year.
“Blood has no substitute,” Armitage said. “Patients across the state rely on blood products to fight cancer, survive trauma and heal after childbirth. Blood donation takes about an hour and can save up to three lives.”
Appointments to donate can be made online at obi.org or by calling 877-340-8777.
*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; individuals over the age of 18 must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID required.
OBI is the sixth-largest independent blood center in the nation, with 16 donor centers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, including five centers throughout Arkansas. OBI is the local, non-profit blood supplier in Arkansas, supporting the inventory for patients in more than 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.