Give one more in ’24 to LifeServe Blood Center

Every two seconds in our country, someone needs blood. Whether the cause of the need is a traumatic life event, accident, pregnancy, or other medical matter, LifeServe Blood Center in Sioux City helps to assist with those blood donation needs. 

“LifeServe is one of our country’s 15 largest community blood centers. We are a non-profit organization headquartered in Des Moines, IA,” shared Shay Willis, Director of PR and Marketing with Life Serve Blood Center in Sioux City.

In addition to the headquarters in Des Moines (a new facility is being built in Johnston, IA, just outside of Des Moines), there are also 13 other donor centers in Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska. One is located here in Sioux City at 4501 Southern Hills Drive.

“We work to collect blood six days a week because we can’t afford not to collect. We service more than 160 hospitals, ensuring we have blood on their shelves for their patients. That number will continue to grow due to expanding our services in Eastern Iowa,” shared Shay.

The organization has donor centers where people can schedule appointments or walk in and donate blood. Then, they also have territory representatives who are responsible for setting up mobile blood drives. Those would be the blood drives you see at area schools, malls, or businesses.

“Blood donation has to be a habit because if the percentage of the population who are eligible to donate blood don’t donate blood, then we’re not going to be able to meet the needs of the people who need these products. The current statistic is of the total U.S. population, 62% are eligible to donate and only 3% donate blood each year. That is super scary,” stated Shay.

The summer months and the winter months are when blood donation needs are at their worst. People are on vacation and step out of more of their scheduled routines, and that could mean donations are missed for that time of the year. However, those are also the times of the year when recreational activities become more prevalent and dangerous, thus presenting the need for more blood.

“We try to remind people that it doesn’t matter when you donate; it’s just that you do. There are people in our hospitals who need blood at all times. We try to raise awareness and encourage it more in the summer, winter, and holidays when demands are at their peak,” said Shay.

A person is eligible to donate blood if they are 16 or 17 years old (with parental consent), weigh at least 120 pounds, are in general good health (have normal blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and hemoglobin screenings), and are not pregnant. The FDA sets forth these qualifications.

“The FDA regulations state that if you are a whole blood donor, you can give blood every eight weeks. If you’re a double red-cell donor, you can donate every 16 weeks. You cannot give as often, but you can still give more than once a year. If you’re a platelet donor, you can sometimes give every two weeks. That’s huge! We’re just asking that if you’ve given with our organization, give one more in ’24. If you’ve never donated, give at least once,” shared Shay.

Factors that could make a person ineligible to donate blood are illness, certain medications they are taking, and specific places they’ve traveled. LifeServe will help you determine if you are eligible to donate.

“If you can’t physically donate, perhaps you could help arrange a mobile blood drive at your place of work or worship. Getting involved doesn’t necessarily mean donating, but anything you can do to help raise awareness and get others to donate makes an impact. One unit of red cells can impact up to three people’s lives. Many people can’t say that they’ve impacted that many people’s lives in just one hour. It truly is impactful, and you will be making a difference for someone right there in your community,” stated Shay.

When people choose to donate blood, they contact the blood center at 800-287-4903 and make an appointment. At their appointment, they will fill out a history or donor questionnaire. These are basic medical questions to ensure it’s safe, healthy, and in the donor’s best interest to donate.

“When you think about it, it’s like a mini-physical. It’s just as necessary for the donor to be in good health as for the patient receiving the transfusion. They’ll check your blood pressure, heart rate, and take your height and weight. Once that is complete and the donor is considered healthy enough to donate, then the donation process starts. If you’re a whole blood donor, the donation process will take about ten minutes. Everybody bleeds a little differently,” said Shay.

Once the donation process is completed, donors are treated to cookies, little cakes, water, juice, or soda. After completing their snacks and determining they are feeling well after donating, they are free to leave and go about their day.

If you’d like to learn more about the LifeServe Blood Center, please visit their website at

By Amy Buster

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