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Health, Science & Tech

Lack Of Summer Donations Leaves Blood Banks Dry

Charleston's TheDigitel

Most people are focused on outdoor activities or travel in the summer, but not usually donating blood.

“(They) sometimes tend to forget that people need blood to survive,” said Central Blood Bank spokeswoman Megan Lakatos. “Summer gets in the way.”

Though fewer people think to donate blood during the warmer months, demand for blood transfusions stays constant, she said. To combat the issue, blood banks are launching campaigns focused on rewarding blood donors who make appointments during the summer.

For Central Blood Bank, those summer donations are imperative to its operation. Lakatos said it supplies more than 40 hospitals in western Pennsylvania and needs a regular supply of local donors.

Beth Toll, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross’ Pennsylvania-New Jersey region, said summer break also affects the number of donations, since many young people give through blood drives set up by their schools.

“Some folks may say, ‘Well it’s nice outside, I don’t want to sit inside and spend an hour giving blood,’” Toll said. “But what’s important to remember is that in that hour, you can help save up to three lives.”

Lakatos said high school and college students make up about 25 percent of Central Blood Bank’s contributions.

The Red Cross and Central Blood Bank do anticipate those declines, which is why they’re increasing the benefits to donors. The Red Cross recently launched a “Choose Your Day” campaign that offers more flexibility and a T-shirt. Central Blood Bank has launched similar incentives with Pirate tickets giveaways, raffles to the U.S. Open and T-shirts and coupons.

Both blood banks provide apps and websites for potential donors.