LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The recent winter weather has drastically impacted blood centers in Southwest Louisiana. The ice storm caused multiple cancellations and has led to a lack of donations - rising to a dangerous level not seen in decades.
“We were kind of gaining momentum, then the ice storm came, and we were shut down for a couple of days,” Ashley Blair of Lifeshare Blood Center said. “It was detrimental for us because every single day we do not collect blood products means that someone is going to have to postpone surgery.”
“We had over 1,500 donations go uncollected,” said Brittany Simon of Vitaland Blood Center
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter is teaming up with Vitalant and Lifeshare Blood Centers to host daily donation drives, touching every corner of the city over the course of a few days.
“We’re issuing a challenge to the city of Lake Charles and the surrounding citizens to come together, donate blood, save a life,” says Mayor Nic Hunter. “We’re gonna have multiple blood drives throughout the city of Lake Charles: one here at City Hall and then one in each of the 7 city council districts over the coming days and weeks.”
During a critical time of COVID-19, not only are blood platelets a necessity, but also plasma.
“Even if you’ve had antibodies or anything like that in your blood, we are still asking people to come out and donate the convalescent plasma that’s helping hugely here in our area with all the COVID-19 numbers,” says Blair. “It does not affect your ability to donate if you’ve had COVID-19. Even if you’ve had your COVID vaccine, you can still donate.”
A full list of donor locations is listed below, along with websites to sign up.
· City Hall (326 Pujo Street) Tuesday, March 2, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.lifeshare.org
· Donald Ray Stevens Community Center (1619 Cessford Street) Wednesday, March 3, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.lifeshare.org
· Huber Park Community Center (2510 4th Street) Wednesday, March 3, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. www.vitalant.org
· Lifeshare Blood Center Donor Room (214 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive) Wednesday, March 3, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.lifeshare.org
· College Oaks Recreation Center (3518 Ernest Street) Thursday, March 4, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.vitalant.org
· McMillan Park (303 N. Goos Street) Friday, March 5, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.lifeshare.org
· Henry Height Recreation Center (801 E. School Street) Friday, March 5, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.vitalant.org
· Stine Home + Yard (4501 Nelson Road) Friday, March 5, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.lifeshare.org