Blood Center fears donation shortage this holiday season

SEATTLE -- Officials at the Puget Sound Blood Center are concerned that blood donations could drop by 30 percent this holiday season, leaving it unable to provide for area hospitals.

While there tends to be lots of giving this time of year, holidays and vacations can make it difficult for people to donate blood. Additionally, both Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Wednesdays this year, which is typically the busiest day of the week for blood donation.

Blood Center officials are urging the public to consider donating blood before Jan. 5 to help make up for the expected shortage.

"We're asking people to schedule just one hour during the next four weeks to donate blood," said David Leitch, director of donor and volunteer resources for Puget Sound Blood Center. "That will carry us through the holidays so we can avoid an emergency shortage down the road if blood supplies become depleted, especially if we're hit with snowy weather."

Puget Sound Blood Center serves 75 hospitals throughout the Puget Sound and needs to collect 900 donations every weekday to ensure a stable supply of blood components. Blood products are used for people who are undergoing surgeries, have traumatic injuries or are receiving cancer treatments.

There is a specific need for O-negative blood donors because their blood can be given to patients with any other blood type.

Donors can visit any of the 11 blood donation centers in Western Washington or visit a community blood drive. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made online or by calling 1-800-398-7888.