Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, provider of blood components to 22 hospitals in the St. Louis region, is requesting appointments from eligible blood donors in the days leading up to Fourth of July.
The rate of blood donation has dropped over the last month, and donations are urgently needed to avoid a shortfall in the blood supply. To schedule an appointment to give blood at a donor center or mobile blood drive, call (800) 747-5401 or visit bloodcenterimpact.org.
From its product distribution hubs in Maryville and Maryland Heights, Mo., the center provides blood components to 22 hospitals in Illinois and Missouri and 88 total hospitals. To thank donors who support the blood supply around Fourth of July, the organization is providing I Gave to Save T-shirts to all presenting donors who come to mobile blood drives through July 16 and a $5 Starbucks gift card for all who come to give blood at donor centers through Sept. 10. In addition, all who register to give blood will receive automatic entry in the center’s summer-long drawing for a new Ford Fiesta through Sept. 30. See bloodcenter.org/win for contest rules and sponsor information.
The rate of blood donation has dropped by 10 to 15 percent since Memorial Day and the end of the school year.
“This is due, in part, to our inability to hold mobile blood drives at schools during the summer months,” said Amanda Hess, donor relations director. “But donor presentation at our donor centers and other mobile blood drives has also decreased. At the same time, our donor deferral rate has increased. These trends are concerning, because hospitals rely on us to provide a consistent blood supply year-round.”
Donors are invited to visit donor centers in Crestwood and St. Peters, or to participate in mobile blood drives scheduled throughout the region, including next week’s KSHE-95 FM Summer Blood Drive, set for Friday, July 8, and Saturday, July 9. For hours and locations, see bloodcenter.org/KSHE.
“With nine locations over two days, a strong turnout at these blood drives will help support our inventory just when that help is needed most,” Hess said.
The deferral for travel to the region where the zika virus outbreak is occurring and an FDA-required increase in the allowable hemoglobin threshold for male donors have both contributed to a recent increase in the center’s donor deferral rate. This, combined with a decrease in the rate of donor presentation, has made this a challenging summer for the blood supply.
“The need for blood at local hospitals is constant throughout the year, but we know it can spike at any time,” Hess said. “In times of crisis, we’re reminded that it’s blood components that were already ‘on the shelves’ at the hospital that make the greatest difference.”
To thank those who support the blood supply, the center is offering special incentives for blood donors:
- New Ford Fiesta SE (sponsored by Lindquist Ford and Clinton Auto Group): one winner chosen from all registered donors May 1-Sept. 30 (some exclusions apply, see bloodcenter.org/win for details)
- $300 gas gift card drawing: one winner per month, selected from all registered donors (June, July and August)
- $5 Starbucks gift card for all donors who register to give blood at MVRBC Donor Centers (June 14 to Sept. 10).
- I Gave to Save T-shirts for all donors who register at MVRBC mobile blood drives (June 20 to July 16).
“Patients receive blood transfusions as part of their treatment for cancer, to replace blood lost in surgery or accidents, and for many other reasons that don’t just disappear during the summer months,” Hess said. “That’s why our recruiters and blood drive coordinators work so hard to make sure the blood supply is consistently strong.”