DURANT – The Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is in a blood shortage. Blood drives canceled due to COVID-19 impacted the amount of blood OBI has been able to collect. Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) has issued a blood drive challenge to other tribes.
From August 1, 2021 until the end of January 2022, the Choctaw Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Cherokee Nation, and Muscogee Creek Nation challenge their members and associates to give blood. By increasing the blood provided to the OBI, hospitals and health clinics across the state will have the supply it needs to help patients.
“The state of Oklahoma is currently experiencing a critically low blood supply. One disaster could deplete the majority of the supply we have on hand. I challenge the Choctaw Nation and the other tribes to come together and make sure the state of Oklahoma and our tribal members have these much-needed, life-saving supplies,” says Chief Batton.
“OBI is calling on all healthy citizens to take only about an hour of their time to give blood for our friends and neighbors in need,” says Michelle McGuire, Donor Recruitment Consultant with the Oklahoma Blood Institute. “First-time donors are especially needed! It takes nearly 1,200 donors a day to meet the blood needs of patients in our hospitals. Give back to your community in a way that only you can, by giving blood.”.
Neither having the COVID-19 virus nor getting the COVID-19 vaccination impacts your ability to give blood, as long as you are symptom-free and feeling well on the day of donation. Donors will need to provide details to your phlebotomist if you’ve contracted the disease and/or received the vaccination. During the ongoing pandemic, blood donation mobile drives and centers follow a stricter set of protocols, including mask-wearing and extra sanitation of workstations. Individuals can give blood every 56 days.
To make the challenge more exciting, a trophy will be presented to the tribe that collects the most blood throughout the event. “We are hoping this continues on year after year. The trophy will continue to be passed around to the tribe who wins each six months,” says Brenda Gabbart, Blood Drive Coordinator for the Choctaw Nation.
The Choctaw Nation has set up several blood drives throughout the following months. OBI has all events posted online at www.yourbloodinstitute.org/donor/schedules/geo. You can choose one of several search options for both mobile drives and donation centers. Notify your phlebotomist that you are donating towards the Choctaw Nation challenge. Blood donors participating in the challenge will receive a bigfoot-themed tee-shirt with the tribal logos on the back.
The following two weeks’ blood drives are outlined below. Find the Choctaw Nation sponsored blood drives on our social media page www.choctawnation.com/blood-drive-challenge.