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January 3, 2014

OBI fully stocked again after recent blood drives

DUNCAN — Though only a few days ago the Oklahoma Blood Institute announced it was in critical need of units, this is no longer the case.

This is due to the shelves being restocked after donors have visited blood drives and donor centers across the state. One such blood drive took place Thursday afternoon at the Duncan Chamber of Commerce.

Along with the Chamber, sponsors were the Duncan Police Department and Duncan Fire Department.

“Because of the (inclement) weather and the holidays, people were not able to get out and donate,” said Zelda McCall, blood program consultant. “Ideally, we want a 3-5 day supply on the shelf and we’re working on building that up.”

While the roads were icy and temperatures freezing, most donor centers were closed and blood drives were canceled. Not to mention, Oklahoma residents would not have been able to drive to either anyway.

During this lull, normal use of donated blood caused the supply to dip below the critical mark. In case of more bad weather or an emergency, OBI is working to make sure the stock is high.

“It’s still just January, so the weather could get bad again,” said McCall. “You never know when an emergency will happen and there is also every-day use.”

One donor will give about a pint of blood, also called a unit. One unit could help up to three people. Oklahoma needs 700 units on a daily basis.

“I always encourage people to at least think about donation,” McCall said. “You could be a hero to up to three people and their friends and family. Blood can’t be manufactured.”

The goal for Thursday’s blood drive was to receive at least 30 units. In order to do this, McCall said about 40 people need to show up to try to donate because not everyone who shows up will be able to donate for various reasons.

About an hour into the drive, close to 10 people had dropped by. One of those was first-time donator, Kirstie Cantwell of Duncan.

“I wanted to donate in high school but wasn’t able to,” she said. “I saw in the paper there was going to be a drive. I wanted to help other people in need.”

Buddy Hokit also donated Thursday afternoon. Though it was not his first-time to give blood, Hokit said it had been a while.

“I saw this morning they were having a blood drive,” he said. “I just want to do what I can do.”

From beginning paperwork to the exit, the blood donation process takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Only five to ten minutes are spent having blood drawn.

Important and helpful tips for giving blood are to eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of water before going in.

Some benefits to giving blood include finding out what blood type you are if you don’t already know and receiving a mini-physical, which checks your blood pressure, iron level, cholesterol and more.

You can also volunteer to help with blood drives. If interested in helping out in Stephens County, call Nikki Beverly at 580-353-6451.

For more information on blood donation in Oklahoma, visit www.obi.org.

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