Donors needed to fight blood shortage

By Hayley Schletker

The Kentucky Blood Center is experiencing a drastic shortage, with less than one day’s supply of types O positive and O negative blood remaining.

The surplus of blood collected during the first few weeks of December has been nearly depleted, according to a news release from the center. Donations during the last weeks of December and the first weeks of January have failed to meet the demands for the center.

The Kentucky Blood Center, a non-profit organization, serves 67 hospitals and provides an average of 170 units of blood a day, said Jim Tinker, a spokesman for the center. To continue to provide blood, he said, the center must have donations from the community.

Tinker said the shortage could be because illness and bad weather plagued Central and Eastern Kentucky last week, or because people were out of town or off work for the holiday break.

Programs like Game for Life and Big Blue Crush give students a chance to donate blood on campus throughout the school year, but Tinker urged students to also give at other times because donating blood is one of the biggest ways to make a difference in the community.

“College students pride themselves on being a generation of change,” Tinker said. “One of the ways people can have an impact is to donate blood. It is like giving a little bit of yourself to someone else. Each time you donate, you can save the lives of up to three people.”

As few as 2 percent of people actually donate blood, Tinker said.

Donors are required to be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health, Tinker said. The process takes about 10 minutes after a brief screening and questionnaire.

The Game for Life competition against the University of Arkansas on Feb. 19 to 22 is the next scheduled blood drive on campus, but Tinker urged students to donate blood soon.

“People need blood every day,” he said.

Students interested in donating blood can visit the Lexington donation center on Beaumont Centre Circle or visit the Kentucky Blood Center’s Web site (