Blood donations lull around the holidays, creating shortages

The Arkansas Blood Institute is experiencing an increased need for donations around the holidays.

The holidays are a special time to remember the importance of giving. But, as things get busy, we often forget about some places that consistently need support.

The Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) said they often see a decrease in donations during this time. They need your help to supply the blood needed for area hospitals.

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The holiday hustle and bustle didn’t stop Jeremy Shapley from helping the ABI. On Monday, he chose to bring his kids to the ABI to learn what giving back is really all about.

“Giving blood doesn't hurt and it doesn't take but 15 to 20 minutes, so I’m not losing anything by coming,” Shapley said. “If I can help people that easily and that cheaply, why wouldn't I want to do it?”

He said that by bringing his kids, he hopes they will understand the importance of giving back. He hopes they will someday choose to donate blood, as well. His daughter, Jillian, said it’s something she wants to do someday.

“I think that it’s really amazing that he [my dad] can save people that easily,” she said.

His son, Sam, said he was nervous to come see his dad give blood but the experience made him not afraid anymore. He said he also would like to give blood one day to help others.
“I thought it was going to be terrible, but it was not that terrible,’ he said.

While giving blood throughout the year is important, the holiday lull makes the need for blood even greater. ABI Executive Director, Paulette Nieuwenhof, said it is so important to donate blood during the holidays because the ABI needs over 1,000 blood donations a day to service their hospitals.

“Everyone gets in the hustle and bustle of the holiday spirit, which is fine, but we also need to keep the inventory at the hospitals that we service,” Nieuwenhof said. “We service all the hospitals in Little Rock and central Arkansas.”

Nieuwenhof said that in just under an hour you, can save up to 3 lives by donating blood. The blood platelets can be used for children fighting cancer, red blood cells can be used for patients needing surgery, and plasma can be used for burn victims.

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To help out the ABI this season, THV11 is partnering with them to make giving easy for you. Come out on out to ABI from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19 to donate blood.

THV11’s Denise Middleton will be there for the THV11 Helping Home Blood Drive. All day, donors will get a free long sleeve t-shirt and will be able to enter a drawing for a free flat screen TV. We hope to see you there as we strive to give hope and life this holiday season.