OBI: Blood donors urgently needed

The Oklahoma Blood Institute recently issued a press release stating that it is “experiencing an emergency blood shortage and is issuing an urgent call for donors of all blood types.”

Several days of winter weather, blood drive cancellations and widespread illness, including a flu outbreak, have all contributed to a sharp downturn in donations, according to the release. Levels have reached a less than one-day supply. Usually, Oklahoma Blood Institute maintains a three- to five-day supply for local hospitals.

“Because close to a quarter of our blood collections comes from school blood drives, school closings can be devastating to our inventory,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “With spring break around the corner, our schools and universities will be out again, and many people will be leaving the state for vacation. So, it is imperative to replenish the supply right away. We are calling on all healthy Oklahomans to take about an hour of their time to give blood for our friends and neighbors in need.”

To schedule an appointment to give blood, call 877-340-8777 or visit obi.org to see a list of donor centers and mobile blood drives.

Locally, donors can help by giving blood at the Ada Boots and Badges Blood Drive, which is being held Monday. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Ada First United Methodist Church Life Center, 124 W. 14th St.

The event is a friendly competition between area law enforcement and firefighters/EMS to see who can bring in the most blood donors to help stock the shelves at the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

OBI asks that potential donors stay hydrated and limit caffeine in the few days before donating.

Amie Orr, with OBI, said consuming caffeine lowers the hematocrit level.

“I like coffee,” Orr said, “but I try a couple of days before (donating) to maybe just have one cup of coffee. Just don’t go overboard with your caffeine. Have one cup of coffee and maybe drink water the rest of the day.”

Orr said every donor at the event will receive a certificate for a free Whataburger honey-butter chicken biscuit and will also be entered to win a chance for free food from Whataburger for a year.

“Anyone who donates will also be entered to win a two-night (stay) at Beavers Bend and gift cards to Girls Gone Wine and Beavers Bend Brewery,” Orr said. “So, the winners will receive a two-night stay in a cabin in Beavers Bend, along with some gift certificates for the wine and the brewery there.”

To schedule an appointment, visit obi.org and enter code W162.

Not only will blood donors save up to three lives with their donation, but they’ll also receive a commemorative Boots and Badges T-shirt.

To fuel a little healthy competition, donors will choose which department to support by donating on behalf of law enforcement or firefighters/EMS.