Blood Donor Awareness Month
Like any other time of the year, the Blood Bank of Alaska encourages new and existing donors to visit their local blood center or mobile drive to make a donation.
However, after the new year when temperatures are cold and people are on break, the Blood Bank of Alaska experiences a decrease in donations, according to Wes Dahlgren - Director of Collections and Recruitment.
That’s why January was first designated as National Donor Month in 1970 to raise awareness about the critical need for blood, and to recognize those who regularly donate.
“Usually when it’s that cold, traffic in and out of our centers is a lot less. Donors don’t want to leave their houses really -- the bare minimum of going to work and going home,” Dahlgren said.
Regular donations bring a decent supply of blood for the state but more traffic would drastically help Alaska's critical need for blood.
“On average the majority of donors only donate one time a year, which is great,” Dahlgren said. “If those donators were to donate two times a year, Alaska would never have any issues with blood supply.”
Since a single blood donation only lasts so long, the more donations and donors visiting the blood bank, the better they can ration their blood supply in the state.
“Blood is only good for 42 days on the shelf,” Dahlgren said, “Like milk has a shelf life, blood has a shelf life as well -- and actually assessing that need and forecasting when there might be a shortage [matters].”