ABILENE, Texas - Supplies are critically low after the holidays – and donations are needed – at Abilene's Meek Blood Center.
Donor Recruiter Frances Baker said the shortage is especially frightening because the center provides blood to 17 area hospitals, including Hendrick Medical Center and Abilene Regional Medical Center in Abilene.
"It usually happens about this time of the year when people get busy and forget to donate," Baker said. "However our hospital patients are always depending on donors to come in so we really--we are short of all blood types particularly O negative and A negative."
To put things into perspective, Baker said one particular cancer patient needed 87 transfusions over a three month period to stay alive.
"We are totally dependent on volunteer donors. We're dependent on someone making the decision to come in and give blood so we'll have it available for any need that might come through the door," she said.
Within the last two months, the center has streamlined the donation process and opened it up to more people.
"We're asking 13 fewer questions, there's only 18 medications now that would keep you from donating and cancer patients only have to wait two years after completion of treatment," Baker said.
Donors also receive a free T-shirt.
"You can build it up in your head to think it's going to be something really scary but it's not and if you just focus on saving a life, and think of how grateful the recipient is going to be that somebody took the time to give blood, then it makes it all worth it," Baker said.
Donations can be made at the Meek Blood Center, located at 1150 North 18th Street on the first floor of the Cedar Mall building on the Hendrick Medical Center campus.
The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Extended hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday.