(COLORADO SPRINGS) — FOX21 News hosted its annual blood drive with Vitalant Friday morning on April 21.
Vitalant is the primary blood collector in Colorado, supporting 95 hospitals across the state. Nationally, Vitalant is the largest independent, nonprofit blood services provider for about 900 hospitals throughout the country.
In Colorado, Vitalant needs to collect more than 600 units each day to meet patient needs across the state. Vitalant collects about 1.7 million donations a year nationally.
During times of emergency blood shortages, donated blood is sent to hospitals faster than donors come in, which is why it is important to have regular donors throughout the year, according to Vitalant.
“It’s the blood already on the shelf that helps in an emergency. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a safe and ready supply at all times,” said Vitalant.
An example of this need was experienced in the aftermath of the Club Q shooting, which left five people dead and 18 injured. According to Vitalant, 70 units of blood were sent to hospitals in Colorado Springs using its own lights and sirens.
While red blood cells have a 42-day shelf life, Vitalant said it likes to keep a four-day supply of all blood types on its shelves at all times. Platelets, which are primarily given to cancer patients and also used in surgeries and organ transplants, must be used within a week.
One blood donation has the potential to save three lives, per Vitalant. Donors of all blood types are critically needed, but O- blood is especially needed as the universal and most transfused blood type.
“[It’s] what emergency room personnel reach for when there is not time to determine a patient’s blood type,” stated Vitalant.
As a special ‘thank you,’ all donors who give now through May 15, will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card redeemable by email.