Vitalant is in need of blood donations

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There is a need for blood donations not only in the Fargo-Moorhead metro, but across the nation. Vitalant Regional Director, Jennifer Bredahl spoke to WDAY Radio on the need for donations saying, “We have seen a decline in donations since about May. We are about 25 percent down on our blood donations. This is a nationwide issue we are kind of dealing with as well.”

Blood donation needs increase in the community when tragic events happen. Bredahl said we don’t know when tragedies will happen, so the need becomes that much higher. She continued by saying, “There’s also a great need for people needing blood products in the hospitals for regular surgeries, emergency surgeries, ect.” Bredahl commented on the importance of donations by adding, “in a tragic situation like we had this last Friday, when blood products are needed like those that come off the shelf and it’s more than likely someone local here that donated, they didn’t realize they were going to be helping out in such a tragic situation. That’s exactly what’s happened is they’ve helped save a life and they didn’t even realize it ahead of time.”

The public can help solve this need by donating blood four times per year. If a person were interested in donating blood they can go to to see upcoming blood drives, schedule a donation, and learn more about the donation process.

Bredahl said it can be quick and simple to make a donation, “before you come in we suggest you eat a good hearty meal and drinking lots of liquids the day before helps as well.” She continued, “we have a quick process where you can actually do some of your questions online before you come in or you can do it with a technician here, it takes about 10-15 minutes at the most, then the donation takes about 7-10 minutes, and then you have some snacks on your way out the door. It’s just as simple as that and you could’ve saved up to three lives just by doing that.”

She gave some insight on how frequently someone who qualifies could donate to help those in need. “Depending on what you donate, everyone has a different blood type, we need to make sure we are getting the red cells from those people, for some people with a different blood type we may ask that they give platelets for cancer patients and some we may request the plasma that is transfused in the hospitals locally as well” Bredahl said. She continued, “so depending on your blood type will depend on how often you can donate. A good rule of thumb is every 8-16 weeks.”

Additionally, much of the urgency for blood donations stem from the recent decrease in donors. On top of that blood has a shelf life of 42 days to be used to help a patient or be discarded.