January is National Blood Donor Month and there is an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to give now and help address a winter blood donation shortage.

Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year, with more than 150 blood drives forced to cancel, causing more than 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

There is a blood drive set for 11 am to 7 pm, Tuesday, January 16 at the First United Methodist Church, Maryville. As an added incentive to give, all donors will receive a free Kansas City Mavericks T-shirt.

Local coordinator Evie Church encourages, “Everyone should bring a friend.”

Appointments may be made at esavealifenow.org, and be prepared to enter “maryville” as the sponsor code. Church may be reached at 660.562.2671 or echurch39@gmail.com.

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood donation types right now:

• Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.

• Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients.

• Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation.

Every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood – a need that is all too real for Heather Hrouda and her family. Hrouda was 25 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she began bleeding. An emergency cesarean section was performed, but Hrouda hemorrhaged during surgery. She received 14 units of blood and seven units of plasma before she and her newborn son, Rusher, were flown to a nearby hospital.

There, she received additional transfusions, and Rusher was moved to the neonatal intensive care unit, where he also received a blood transfusion to increase his red blood cell count.

“My family and I are so thankful for all the blood donors,” Hrouda said. “It is safe to say that without their time and donations, Rusher and I would not be here today. Because of donors, I get to watch my kids grow up and become the adults they dream of being.”

The Hroudas are just two examples of the many patients who depend on blood donors.

Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to save their lives.

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