Blood donations urgently needed as Valley supply reaches 'extreme low'

The Central California Blood Center said it is struggling to fulfill the need for blood, and needs the community's help.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central Valley's blood supply has reached an "extreme low," and officials from the Central California Blood Center are urging residents to donate soon.

The blood center said it is struggling to fulfill the need for blood amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and as more normal surgeries resume at Valley hospitals.

"In spite of our best efforts, we simply cannot keep up," said the center's director of marketing and community development, Ersilia Lacaze.

"The need doesn't stop. There's still trauma, pre-mature babies and pregnancies that require blood products," she added, "The only way I have enough blood for our patients in this Valley, every month, is by consistently donating. When less than 10% of those who can donate, actually do, that's a difficult job."

Central California Blood Center officials said that they usually rely on blood drives held at school campuses around the community, but because of COVID-19, most of those events were canceled.

The center usually collects 30% of their blood units from students during the fall and winter months.

Officials are now asking for the community's help in restoring their blood supply by giving donations. Click here to see where you can go to donate in the Central Valley.

The shelf life on blood is 42 days. So the blood center urges donors to give regularly, like Margaret Williams, who donates every 2 - 3 months.

She knows first-hand what the need means after her son John needed a blood transfusion at just 3 years-old.

Williams says, "Someone being generous enough to donate their blood saved my child's life."

The selflessness of donors didn't just motivate her to pay it forward, she also urges family and friends to donate regularly.

Trauma surgeon and UCSF professor of surgery Dr. Mary Wolfe says the blood supply shortage has been of concern over the last few months.

Dr. Wolfe says, "We have to think really critically about whether we can do specific surgeries such as cancer surgeries and heart surgeries."

She adds, "It can save a life; and the life that it saves can be someone you love."
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