Last week officials from the Blood Bank of Alaska came to the Peninsula to show their appreciation for the donors that keep the Blood Bank in operation, "The donors are gold to us," said President and CEO Jack Williams, "They are the people who take their time to give us part of their body so that we can go out and on our life saving mission, and we truly appreciate each one of them, they are our customers and they give of their time to save lives" said Williams.
Last Wednesday was Donor Appreciation Day at the Kenai Peninsula Blood Bank at the Blazy Mall in Soldotna. Williams was on hand to personally greet donors and share refreshments and spoke of expanded hours to make donating the gift of life more convenient, "We're expanding to a six day operating schedule with new hours and we are doing some donor surveys to get some feedback from our donors to find out what we can do to make it easier on them to give their gift to us," said Williams.
According to Williams one of the factors that is driving the increase need for blood in Alaska is the expanded medical specialties that are available now in Alaska that formerly had to go to Seattle thus increasing local blood usage. New technology has also increased the usage of each unit of blood. However, since the World War Two generation, donor awareness has been declining, "During the second world war people were very well educated on the need to give blood on an on going basis, but as that population has aged and passed away, there hasn't been a new generation to follow them in continual giving. That's why we are working hard to make our case to the younger donor to get them in the habit of sharing that life saving product they have," said Williams. Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to be a blood donor.
The day following Donor Appreciation Day, a National Appeal for immediate donations was issued from Blood Bank of Alaska headquarters in Anchorage. According to Gregg Schomaker, Community Relations Director, the Blood Bank of Alaska is struggling to keep up with the blood needs this month due to low donations and extensive usage in the area. "Local inventory levels have dropped well below a safe and adequate blood supply. We are urging all eligible donors to respond immediately," said Schomaker. This call to action comes at a time when blood is traditionally in short supply due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and seasonal illness. "We are currently at code red - less than a one day supply of Type O-negative, and at code yellow - less than a two day supply of Type O-positive, A-positive, and B-negative," added Schomaker. To become a donor at the local Peninsula Blood Bank call 260-5672 or stop by the Blazy Mall during the Blood Banks new hours.
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