Lifeline Blood Services tries to wait as long as possible to send out critical alerts to local media and the public when blood supplies for the main blood bank serving 21 counties of rural West Tennessee are drastically low.
But that’s what Lifeline had to do last week.
“We came out of the (Thanksgiving) holiday weekend with a one-day supply of blood,” said Melinda Reid, communications director for Lifeline. “So we’re at critically low levels because we had a high level of usage over the holiday.”
They’re in need of all types of blood as well.
But the blood bank isn’t usually far from being critically low at any given moment.
“Even without the high usage, we were preparing to be at a level lower than normal because donations understandably take a dip during a holiday,” Reid said.
But donations have been consistently lower in the last couple years compared to pre-pandemic levels as many donors decreased their giving during the opening months after the arrival of COVID-19 and haven’t consistently come back yet.
Lifeline is having a promotion in the month of December in which all donors each week will be entered into a drawing for a $500 gift card, culminating with a drawing on Dec. 23 for a 55-inch smart television.
The promotion isn’t out of the ordinary as Lifeline will have different sponsored promotions for vehicle giveaways, gift cards to local restaurants and other items to motivate potential donors to walk in or go to a mobile donation site.
“It’s not just us dealing with this issue, but blood banks all over the country are dealing with it,” Reid said. “We appreciate the donors that we have, but we need more because none of us never know when we may need that blood – whether it’s a cancer patient needing platelets or someone in surgery or when an accident happens.
“When someone comes in and donates blood, they have the potential to save three lives with that donation. We need all the help and donations we can get.”
Reid said walk-ins are welcome at either of their locations in Jackson (183 Sterling Farms Drive) or Dyersburg (1130 Highway 51 Bypass Suite 19 & 20). The Jackson location is open 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Dyersburg is open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday through Tuesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org