Critical shortage of blood prompts urgent plea for donations in Colorado

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DENVER -- A local blood bank is making an urgent plea to the community for donations after declaring a critical shortage of blood.

Vitalant, formerly Bonfils Blood Center, has less than a two days' supply of necessary blood types. A spokesperson says the supply hasn’t been this low in a year.

Over the holidays, Vitalant received 21,000 fewer donations than expected. The lack of donations is possibly due to travel, weather or sickness.

Currently, all blood types and components are in short supply, but there’s a special need for platelets and Type O donations.

“The blood on the shelf is good for 42 days for red blood cells. It’s only good for five days for platelets,” said Liz Lambert with Vitalant.

Those donations can help people like Brooke Way. She works for Vitalant but also has a rare blood disorder called Thalassemia.

“I actually need about two units of blood every six weeks to be able to function as a normal person,” Way said.

If she doesn’t receive the transfusions, Way says she becomes so lethargic that it is difficult to get out of bed.

“If it weren't for these wonderful blood donors who come into Vitalant every single day, I wouldn't be here today,” she said.

Other people in need include cancer patients, trauma patients, surgery patients and others.

To find a convenient donation center or blood drive or to make an appointment to donate, call 303-363–2300 or visit vitalant.org. Walk-ins are welcome.

Also, because January is National Blood Donor Month, Vitalant is partnering with CraftWorks Holdings for the “Give a Pint, Get a Pint” promotion. This month, everyone who comes in to donate at a Vitalant donation center or mobile blood drive in Colorado will get a voucher for a free Draft House pint of beer or soda (good starting the next day) at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant and Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom.

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