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Idaho blood donors urged to donate

Idaho is currently facing a blood shortage, so the American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood so those in need won’t have to wait.

Kealee Hewatt is an eight-time blood donor. She remembers when her dad would donate blood when she was younger. So when the time came, she decided to start donating, too, at a blood drive in high school.

“I looked into it more and I found out I have O-negative blood, which is kind of like the universal (donor). So I just decided to keep donating,” said Hewatt.

O-negative is one of three blood types the Red Cross is looking to restock in Idaho’s blood shortage. The other are A-negative and B-negative, since they all can be applied to a number of blood types.

“B-negative and A-negative can be transfused to either Rh negative or positive in those blood types,” said Liz Jordan, southeast Idaho representative for the Red Cross. “That’s why the need is so great for negative donors right now.”

Blood shortages aren’t unusual during summertime, since most people are busy with other things this time of the year. Also, schools being on break exacerbates the blood supply problem.

“Twenty-five percent of our donor base is high school and college students, so when school isn’t in session we lose that,” said Jordan.

According to Jordan, one out of two people will need blood sometime in their lives. That’s why Hewatt donates.

“You can save a lot of lives and help a lot of people, donations are needed constantly,” said Hewatt. “Who knows, maybe you’re the one who needs the donation in a couple weeks.”

While the focus is on three blood types, the Red Cross is always in need of all blood types.

According to Jordan, a blood drive happens in the Pocatello area about five to six times a week.

To find a nearby blood drive, you can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit the Red Cross’ website, or use the free Blood Donor App available for smart phones.

If you’re interested in sponsoring your own blood drive, you can contact Jordan at 208-2520-2722.

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