Kentucky Blood Center to host campus blood drive Sept. 6-9


Kentucky Blood Center is exclusive provider of blood to UK Healthcare. Photo provided by Kentucky Blood Center.

Kendall Staton, Reporter

Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) will hold a blood drive on UK’s campus Tuesday, Sept. 6, through Friday, Sept. 9, giving students the chance to save lives locally and across the commonwealth.

Donations can be made from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Gatton Student Center Ballroom A or in the Lewis Honors College Scholars Lounge. All who attempt to donate will receive a Starbucks gift card, KBC t-shirt and an entry to win a $250 VISA gift card as well as a 2022 Toyota RAV4.

KBC’s Vice President of External Relations, Mandy Brajuha, said the organization was in a state of “critical” blood shortage.

“We like to have a three-day supply of blood on the shelves to serve our hospitals,” Brajuha said. “Throughout the pandemic we have been teetering more towards a one- or one-and-half-day supply. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been at a half- to one-day supply.”

While blood centers are used to losing donors periodically, Brajuha noted a lack of young people in donation centers across the country. As the more loyal generation of blood donors ages out, young people are not filling in the gaps. Lack of exposure to the process of blood donation accounts for some fear for first time donors.

“Across the country we work with a lot of blood centers; we kind of have a growing fear that we have systemically lost a generation of donors that are just not understanding the importance,” she said.

Brajuha said she feels that students are intimidated by blood drives, since the COVID pandemic kept KBC out of high schools for the better part of the pandemic. She said that while blood donation is not a painless process for donors, it is worth the eventual outcome.

“It’s a momentary bit of pain to be a lifesaver,” she said. “It gives everyday folks like me the chance to feel like a superhero.”

KBC began with the only focus of supplying the UK Medical Center (UKMC) with blood, but over 55 years, it has expanded to serve over 70 hospitals in the state. It has eight brick-and-mortar donation facilities across the state, and its blood drives serve 90 Kentucky counties.

KBC provides blood to all hospitals in Lexington and the surrounding counties, with the largest consumer of the blood products being UKMC. In an email to the Kernel, KBC’s Director of Media and Branding Eric Lindsey said that the organization is the “exclusive provider of blood to UK Healthcare.”

With local clientele, it is likely that donations from UK’s campus will be used in the surrounding area to aid in life saving processes.

Brajuha encouraged everyone interested in donation to stop by the donation stations, even if prospects are not sure they are viable donors. The health questionnaire completed prior to donation will ensure all donors are eligible.

“It’s a quick and seamless process. We’ll try to get you through as quick as we can,” Brajuha said. “We’ll have good snacks and, you know, save some local lives.”

Donors must present a government issued photo ID at the time of donation. Donors should plan to be in the donation area for 30-45 minutes. This time allows for registration, a health screening questionnaire, short physical evaluation, blood collection, and a waiting period after collection has stopped.