Lake Area push for blood donations

John Guidroz

Several blood drives are scheduled throughout Lake Charles next week in an attempt to replenish the blood supply disrupted by the recent severe winter weather, officials said.

LifeShare Blood Center, Vitalant and the city of Lake Charles set up the drives. Brittany Simon, donor recruitment representative with Vitalant, said Wednesday that the winter weather led to more than 1,500 scheduled donations being canceled.

“People couldn’t get out to donate,” she said.

Ashley Blair, account manager with LifeShare Blood Center, said Hurricanes Laura and Delta hurt the blood supply that was already struggling last year because of COVID-19. She said the winter storm shut the LifeShare office down for a couple of days, leading to thousands of lost blood units.

“Emergencies happen every single day, but people need to have surgeries every day,” Blair said. “There are heart surgeries, babies are born. All of those people need blood products.”

One person’s donation can save up to three lives, Simon said.

“It gives hope to people in need, and you don’t realize it until you or a loved one need it,” she said.

Mayor Nic Hunter said there is a historic need for blood.

“The situation is dire,” he said. “Blood donations are at a level that we haven’t seen in a couple decades, as far as the need.”

Donations are scheduled at each City Council district, with a goal of having 20 donors at each drive.

“This is about challenging the city to come out and donate,” she said. “Help us stock those local hospital shelves.”

Scheduled blood drives include:

10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 2 at City Hall, 326 Pujo St.

City Council District A: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 3, Donald Ray Stevens Community Center, 1619 Cessford St.

District B: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 5, McMillan Park, 303 N. Goos St.

District C: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 3, Huber Park, 2510 Fourth St.

District D: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 3, LifeShare Blood Center donor room, 214 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive.

District E: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 4, College Oaks Elementary Recreation Center, 3518 Ernest St.

District F: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 5, Henry Heights Elementary Recreation Center, 801 E. School St.

District G: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 5, Stine Home & Yard, 4501 Nelson Road.

Donating blood usually takes about 30-45 minutes, Blair said. A quick medical exam will be done to make sure residents are healthy enough to donate blood. All blood types are needed.

To schedule an appointment with Vitalant, call 877-258-4825, or visit vitalant.org. For more on LifeShare, visit lifeshare.org.Blood donor

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