© 2024 WMKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

During national blood donor month, half of blood types are in critical need

Kentucky Blood Center

The Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) is celebrating National Blood Donor Month to highlight the contributions of donors who give back to their community.

Officials report blood donations are more crucial than ever, and four blood types are in critical need: O-, A-, AB-, and AB+. This means less than a day’s supply of these blood types remains available for local hospitals.

Eric Lindsey is the Director of Media and Branding at KBC. He said though the numbers have moderately improved in the last couple of years, total donations still have not recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

“The thing that we want to stress to folks, you know, whether you are someone that donates or someone that’s never considered before, is that 65 percent of Americans are eligible to donate, but only 3 percent actually do. It’s a number, both locally and nationally, that we want to see go up,” said Lindsey.

Of this 3 percent of Americans who donating blood at least once per year, the number of donors ages 19 through 24 continues to decline, falling by 32% since 2019. Lindsey said the decrease in young donors is a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the KBC couldn’t reach its high school demographic through mobile drives.

“You can donate starting at age 16 with parental consent, and you know, that’s obviously when we bring a mobile unit to high schools. For most people, that’s their first experience with blood donation,” said Lindsey. “They see they have an opportunity, and we’re very frank about this, sometimes it’s just to get out of class. And that’s fine with us, it’s fine with the schools. But if that’s your first donation experience and it’s a good experience, that’s often what leads to people donating on a regular basis.”

The next KBC mobile drive in Rowan County is set for January 11 at the Morehead Walmart. Two more drives are scheduled for the Morehead area in February. People who donate through January 20 at any location statewide will receive a ‘Live Local, Give Local’ hoodie while supplies last.

Appointments are preferred and walk-ins are accepted. More information is available at kybloodcenter.org.