This post was written by springfieldauthor on January 20th, 2015
New program helps blood center stretch donations further
For Renee Stoll of Nixa, her twice-a-month visit to the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks location on Plainview Road in Springfield is about carrying on a family tradition.
Stoll’s father was a regular donor. And when he died a few years ago, she took up the cause in his honor.
“I do it because it feels good,” Stoll said. “It stays in the community, and I get a good feeling from it.”
Stoll made it out despite some cold, rainy conditions on Saturday morning to keep her first appointment of 2015 with the platelet donation machine. But blood center administrators said getting those January donations is not always easy.
Chris Pilgrim, marketing manager for the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, said the local organization collects between 4,200 and 5,000 whole blood donations a month, but meeting those numbers in January can be tough because of sickness and winter weather canceling blood drives.
Pilgrim said, however, that the blood center is taking action to combat this slow time and help some other charities in the process.
The blood center has a rewards program called LifePoints, which allows donors to rack up points which they can then redeem for things like gift cards and T-shirts. Pilgrim said those points can now be donated to local nonprofits.
The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is unveiling a new LifePoints Lift program which allows blood donors to give up their points in return for a cash donation to one of 10 local charities: Ozarks Food Harvest, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, CASA, the Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter and Care to Learn.
“It’s a way we can make those donations go a little further,” Pilgrim said.
The Community Blood Center issued a Code Yellow Alert for all negative blood types last week, meaning there was less than a two-day reserve supply of blood for use by area patients. Pilgrim also said O-positive blood reserves were also approaching Code Yellow status.
Pilgrim said the blood center is in need of donations this month, but administrators also want to take time to say thank you to donors, since January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month.
“For us, this is a time to say thanks,” Pilgrim said. “And we remind ourselves that it is a good thing to do not only in January, but year round.”
Christine Garrett of Springfield is one of those year-round donors. She donated platelets 21 times in 2014, and she made her first donation of this year on Saturday morning.
Garrett said she donated platelets for the first time about five years ago and she has been hooked ever since.
“It’s something I can do that doesn’t require just throwing money at a cause,” Garrett said. “And I happen to have O-positive blood, which is the most common.”
Danielle Ray, external communications manager with the American Red Cross, said in a news release that the Red Cross encourages people to make donating blood one of their New Year’s resolutions. Ray said the Red Cross is hosting 20 blood drives in southwest Missouri this month.
Community Blood Center of the Ozarks
Springfield locations: 220 W. Plainview Road and 2230 S. Glenstone Ave.
Red Cross Blood Donation Center
Springfield location: 313 E. Battlefield Road, Suite B