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Colorado blood shortage: Here's where you can donate

Donors of all blood types are needed to reverse a critical shortage.

DENVER — Coloradans are being asked to help reverse a blood shortage in the state by making an appointment to donate in the coming days and weeks.

Nonprofit blood services provider Vitalant said it collected nearly 3,000 fewer blood donations in Colorado in April and May, and about 13,000 fewer nationwide compared to the year prior.

The number of new blood donors is also down 12% year over year.

The most transfused blood type, O, has recently dipped to about half of the desired four-day supply.

Vitalant said new donors and those that haven’t given in a while are especially needed and all blood types will help reverse the shortage.

"Whether it’s a baby in the neonatal ICU, a trauma patient with an unknown blood type, or a patient receiving a stem cell transplant, we rely on O-negative red cell units being readily available to provide safe blood transfusions for our patents," said Dr. Mary Berg, professor of clinical practice in pathology and medical director for transfusion services at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

Platelet donors are also critically needed because of their short shelf life, said Vitalant. Platelets must be used within a week of donation.

Credit: Vitalant

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"Every time you donate you help ensure a patient’s lifesaving treatment doesn’t have to be put on hold," said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant chief medical and scientific officer. "When patient needs consistently outpace donors scheduling appointments, chances are higher a leukemia patient won’t be able to get their regular transfusion, or a transplant recipient will have their surgery delayed."

"Certainly, it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps patients when tragedy strikes – but an adequate supply also has to be ready to provide for the individual needs of patients that arise every day, the cancer treatment, the accident victim, the transplant patient," said Cliff Numark, Vitalant senior vice president. "Making an appointment to donate tomorrow or next week, will help ensure those needs can be met."

Here's where you can sign up to donate blood in Colorado:

Vitalant

As one of the largest blood donor organizations in the United States, Vitalant has donation centers in Denver, Colorado Springs, Golden, Boulder, Greeley, Littleton, Parker, Westminster and Highlands Ranch. Vitalant also holds regularly-occurring mobile locations and pop-up blood drives.

You can make an appointment at a Vitalant donation center or blood drive in Colorado or Cheyenne online at vitalant.org or by calling 877-25-VITAL.

Children's Colorado

More than 95% of the more than 8,000 units of blood used each year at Children's Hospital Colorado comes from its Blood Donation Center. Children’s Colorado’s Blood Donor Center is located at the hospital on Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, on the first floor of the Administrative Pavilion 

The hospital needs donors who represent all four blood types: O, A, B and AB and accepts whole blood donations and apheresis platelet donations.

Appointments to donate blood can be made by calling 720-777-5398.

UCHealth Garth Englund Blood Center

Blood donations at Fort Collins' UCHealth Garth Englund Blood Center support patients at multiple hospitals in northern Colorado: Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, Greeley Hospital, Longs Peak Hospital, and Estes Park Medical Center.

Appointments can be scheduled online at uchealth.org or by calling 970-495-8965.

St. Mary's Medical Center

St. Mary's Medical Center in Grand Junction is the blood provider for Western Colorado and Eastern Utah and supplies 19 hospitals. You can call 970-298-2555 or set up an account to donate.

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