Blood donations drop during holidaysAsk Barb Neumiller how dedicated she is about donating blood and she might flash her tattoo of the United Blood Services logo on her right ankle. Neumiller is a nearly 40-year veteran of donating blood and has given 116 units, or 14 1/2 gallons, over her lifetime. She donates at least four times a year.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Ask Barb Neumiller how dedicated she is about donating blood and she might flash her tattoo of the United Blood Services logo on her right ankle.
Neumiller is a nearly 40-year veteran of donating blood and has given 116 units, or 14 1/2 gallons, over her lifetime. She donates at least four times a year.
“It just makes me feel like a better person that I’ve actually given part of myself,” Neumiller said.
Now is a better time than ever to donate blood as the holiday season draws fewer donors than other times of the year, and demand for blood is just as high, said Jennifer Bredahl, director of donor recruitment at the Northern Regional Office of UBS in Fargo.
People are generally busier this time of the year with holiday plans, Bredahl said.
But during the holiday season there are still accidents, operations and cancer patients who require blood for procedures, she said.
“The thing is people don’t realize at any given time there is a three-day supply at the blood bank,” said Dean Haas, a blood drive organizer in Jamestown.
Supplies of blood could be better and more donors are always needed, Bredahl said.
“We’re always in need for blood donors and during the holidays it’s always more difficult to get more donors in the doors,” said Tammy Kizer, donor recruitment supervisor at UBS.
One opportunity to donate blood is the Jamestown Lions Club Blood Drive on Dec. 16-17 at St. John’s Lutheran Church. The drive is from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 16 and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec 17.
“It just makes good sense,” said Gary Speidel, drive chairman.
Every year Speidel sees some of the same families come in and donate blood.
Bredahl said donating blood is a great gift to give during the holidays. Even though no one knows who will receive the blood, 95 percent of people at some point in their lives will require a blood transfusion, she said.
Only 5 percent of eligible donors give blood for the 95 percent of people who will require it, Haas said.
A liver transplant will require 100 units of blood and that is less than what is donated at a typical drive, he said.
“This is one product where you can have all the money in the world and you can’t buy this, it’s produced,” Haas said.
Some excuses people often have are a fear of needles before the procedure or fear of tiredness after giving blood, officials said.
“At least try it once and see what it’s like, it’s not a big deal,” Haas said.
Neumiller said she has “rolling” or difficult veins to draw from and is afraid of needles in her arm, but still donates and has no problems.
“These people are professionals and they do a very good job,” she said.
Donating blood consists of three phases, the interview beforehand, the drawing of blood, and juice and cookies after. Each step takes between 10 and 15 minutes, Bredahl said. Donors need to be at least age 16, in good health and adhere to other guidelines.
To make an appointment for the Lions Club drive call 952-2250 or in Fargo call 1-888-293-8203 to set up an appointment. To check on scheduled drives, visit www.bloodhero. com.
“If we could just get more people to donate three times a year, it would make a world of difference for our blood supply,” Bredahl said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org