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Watch now: Impact Life looking for blood donors to meet local hospital demand
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HEALTH CARE

Watch now: Impact Life looking for blood donors to meet local hospital demand

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 Impact Life is looking for blood donors to meet demands of area hospitals

DECATUR — Blood donors are essential in providing treatment to patients of accidents, those in need of surgery or an organ transplant, and others battling cancer.

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With state and national blood supplies stretched thin, Impact Life is looking for more community members to donate as supply from Central Illinois is not meeting the demands of area hospitals.

“We like to have a five to seven day supply of blood on hand to operate comfortably and supply all of the hospitals that we supply,” said Dani Craft, recruitment development coordinator at Impact Life in Decatur. “We now have about a three to four day supply … and we only have a one day supply of O negative and O positive blood.”

After opening in July, Impact Life, 151 W. Main St., became the primary blood supplier for both HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital and Decatur Memorial Hospital.

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They also work with other Impact Life centers nearby including Springfield, Peoria, Champaign and Mattoon to supply other hospitals in Central Illinois.

Before the new center was opened, Craft said most collections would primarily come from mobile blood drives at community centers, local churches and school campuses.

Now, with a permanent location, Craft said they can attract new donors traveling through downtown Decatur and give regular donors the opportunity to schedule appointments every six weeks ahead of time.

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Even with that, Craft said the centers in Central Illinois are still only collecting about 3,000 pints of blood every week which is short of reaching their goal of 3,600 pints of blood.

Laboratory facilitator at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Alyssa Petrowsky said blood donations naturally see a decrease over the summer and when holidays near, but supplies have also been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital receives blood products directly from Impact Life, so we are very excited to have a new local donation center to help increase our blood supply as need also increases,” Petrowsky said. “Community members that donate blood in Decatur will be directly helping our local hospitals save lives.”

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Craft said the American Association of Blood Banks reported that around 30 percent of the American population can actually donate blood and the reasons why a person cannot donate range from a personal health condition, the medication they may be taking and the places they have traveled.

Craft said the statistics can fluctuate but out of the 30 percent who are able to donate their blood, less than 10 percent actually donate.

With the Impact Life being a nonprofit, Craft said they do not invest a lot toward advertising and instead rely on community organizations to spread the word and talk about the need of blood donors.

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Craft said they also offer a Donor for Life rewards program where donors can collect points for different prizes like the quarter-zip pullover sweater they had last month.  

Anyone interested in donating blood can schedule an appointment at the Decatur center on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We just need to get the word out that we are here,” Craft said. “I know more donors will show up and we hope to open more than just two days a week.”


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