LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Blood supply is at a critically low level in Southwest Louisiana and as we head into a holiday weekend, there is growing concern it could further deplete.
There are drawers with just a few red blood cell donations and others that are totally bare inside LifeShare Blood Centers in Lake Charles.
Center manager, Chisa Evans, says there is only a two-day supply of blood components going into this holiday weekend.
"There are several types that we could definitely use right now, particularly O and B negative, but we could use anyone's donations at this point," said Evans.
That is what brought 17-year-old Andrew Kowarsch in - ready to roll up his sleeves and help after seeing the need from a fellow classmate with leukemia.
"Every 28 days is when you can donate, so I try to come as often as I can," he said.
Evans says about 60 percent of our population is eligible to donate red blood cells, plasma, or platelets, but not nearly that many people are consistent donors.
"If you're 16 years of age or older, weighing at least 110 pounds and in generally good health, we encourage you to come out and donate for us," said Evans. "It typically takes about 15 minutes to go through a brief screening process to determine whether or not you can give."
With the Memorial Day holiday coming up, Evans says the concern is that regular donors might be unavailable - and that the high volume of travelers could cause an increased demand.
"Those are the times when we usually have accidents, the unexpected traumas that people have that are coming into hospitals," said Evans. "You have no idea what's going to be needed in the moment, so it's best we have the supply on hand and not wait until the last minute."
You can donate at LifeShare in Lake Charles on Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive Monday-Friday from 8:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. and Saturday from 8:00 A.M.-noon.
There are also several mobile drives happening this week from Lake Charles to Jennings, Iowa, Vinton, and DeRidder. Connect with the one closest to you here or schedule one here.
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