LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The demand for life’s necessities are critical ahead of a storm. As essentials like gas, water and food are flying off the shelves, there’s one item that officials are trying to get on the shelves.
With severe weather planning to impact the region, LifeShare Blood Center is asking for blood donors to give blood ahead of the storm.
“It’s very important, I think about all of my family members that have needed plasma or blood, especially at this time,” Lawrence Southern, a donor, said.
Southern has made it his business to give blood on a regular basis for the last two years.
“I’ve always been a believer of helping people and giving back,” Southern said.
Lawrence donated platelets on Thursday--which if not on hand during a severe weather event, could pose critical danger for cancer and sickle cell patients.
“They’re in the hospital regardless of whether a tropical storm happens or not," Latasha Bellow, LifeShare scheduling and logistics coordinator, said.
“When there’s a severe weather event, people do think in terms of traumas and emergencies,” L.C. Memorial Pathologist, Anna Moorhead Best, M.D., said. “For the Oncology patients and sickle cell patients, they are dealing with a chronic disease, they need to have blood that is ready for them and matched for them on a constant basis.”
With the threat of Tropical Storm Barry making landfall by the weekend, Lifeshare is stressing the importance of giving blood donations before the storm arrives.
“In the summer, we’re always very critical to begin with and then you have a storm that hits like now--we can’t go out and get it from anywhere else,” Bellow said.
Although Memorial Hospital sources its blood from a different bank, they can attest that there’s an uptick in blood-related services during severe weather.
“We do up our inventory levels, like today I ordered extra in anticipation that they may not be able to get here over the weekend," L.C. Memorial blood bank supervisor, Kayla Cox, said. "It’s also, you’ll see a little bit more of patients staying and needing transfusions, if there are any accidents that happen..we just try to anticipate the worst to prepare for the best.”
Blood donated with LifeShare goes through extensive testing to make sure it’s safe to transfuse. This process takes about 48 hours. Donors who want to help need to donate as soon as possible to ensure the blood is ready in time.
LifeShare has many mobile drives planned for the week that could be canceled because of the weather.
The most up-to-date drive information can always be found at LifeShare.org.
Donors in Southwest Louisiana can give at the Lake Charles donor center, 214 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive.
The center is open:
Friday, July 12, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday, July 13th, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Donors with questions can call 337-436-4932.