Winter weather leads to a potential blood shortage across the area

A blood drive will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, in the Shuffield Education Center at Sparks Regional Medical Center on Towson Avenue in Fort Smith.

Blood donations typically decrease around Christmas time, according to Greg Womack, Blood Program Consultant, Arkansas Blood Institute. The ice storm that swept across the area during the first week of December and bitter cold that followed, led many to cancel their scheduled appointments.

With more winter weather on the way, it is crucial that more blood donors give in order for the institute to replenish their stock and to prepare for the seasonal lag in donations, according to Womack.

Anyone interested in donating blood can sign up in the Pastoral Care Office at Sparks or call (479) 441-5452. Donors must be at least 16-years-old.

According to ABI, every two seconds someone in America gets a blood transfusion and an estimated 5 million patients will need blood this year alone. Sparks hosts a blood drive every six to eight weeks with a goal of at least 75 units each time. More than 100 people are necessary to try to meet this goal.

The next associate blood drive will be held from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 2 and 1-6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 3. Associate are encouraged to invite friends and family to attend either blood drive.

ABI provides blood products to hospitals in seven counties surrounding Fort Smith. All types of blood are needed year-round to fulfill the needs of patients in western Arkansas.