BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — The Red Cross is adding two new blood donations centers in Idaho over the next 18 months.
This expansion comes as Idaho’s population continues to surge, and with it, the need for blood products for cancer patients, accident victims, expecting mothers and countless others. The new facilities are part of a $2 million capital campaign that aims to grow the organization’s blood collection in the state by 11,000 units.
“There simply is no substitute for lifesaving blood,” Red Cross of Idaho, Montana and East Oregon CEO Nicole Sirak Irwin said. “As Idaho continues to grow, we also need to expand to meet that demand and keep hospital shelves stocked, and these new facilities will help us do that and safeguard the blood supply for generations to come.”
A new 6,000-square-foot facility in Nampa will include 17 donor beds, including six beds dedicated to platelet donation. Platelets help slow bleeding and are a key component of cancer treatment. The Nampa facility will be in addition to the Red Cross donor center currently in Boise.
A Twin Falls facility will include four donor beds and serve as a staging site for Magic Valley blood drives. Currently, Red Cross teams commute from Boise to Twin Falls-area drives so this new facility will reduce those costs. Magic Valley donors contribute significant amounts of blood despite a relatively small population, making this a strategic location for expansion.
One of those helped recently by Red Cross blood donors was Shandra Sterner of Twin Falls. Shortly after giving birth to her son, Sterner began to bleed uncontrollably. She would need seven surgeries and 88 units of blood before the source of her bleeding could be identified and repaired.
“I never knew how blood donation could change your life in a split second, but ultimately it did,” the mother of four said. “It saved my life.”
Each year, Red Cross collects more than 70,000 units of blood at 2,000 drives across Idaho. It’s one of the top-performing biomedical regions in the country and one of just a handful of areas selected for an expansion of this magnitude. St. Luke’s Health System, a valuable Red Cross biomedical partner, was the first major contributor to the campaign, giving $100,000 over two years.
“The Red Cross plays a vital role in helping St. Luke’s and other health systems across the region treat and save lives every day,” said Dr. Bart Hill, St. Luke’s chief quality and safety officer and Red Cross board member. “Without the Red Cross in our communities, treating patients in need of lifesaving blood products would be impossible. We are fortunate to have a close partnership with the Red Cross as both a user of blood products and an organization that supports blood donations, and we are honored to support the Red Cross’ efforts to expand services in our communities.
“We also encourage everyone to consider donating blood this season and donating to this expansion campaign.”