Saving lives one pint of blood at a time

The goal for this year's Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center's Media Blood Drive was 120 donors

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Centerâ??s Annual Media Blood Drive was held Thursday at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa.

This yearâ??s goal: 120 donors.

Donating blood is a fast and easy process that takes around 45 minutes from start to finish. In that time, you can save up to three lives with your donation.

Although the need for blood donations stays steady throughout the year, blood centers see about a 20% decrease in blood donations during the summer months making this media blood drive even more important.

â??Blood is used for cancer treatment to help support trauma patients or heart surgery, organ transplants -- all kinds of reasons that occur throughout the year at the same rate. So when the blood supplies decrease in the summertime, our challenge at the blood center is to meet demand no matter what,â?? said Kirby Winn, Director of Public Relations at Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.

You can start donating blood at the age of 16 with a parentâ??s consent or at the age of 17 without consent.

At the blood drive was a mother-son duo who have been donating every couple of months together. This will be the motherâ??s first pint over eight gallons that sheâ??s donated.

She has this to say for those that may feel nervous about donating blood.

â??Just come out. Everyone's nice and walk and talk you through it. And just look the other way. The thing is if you think it's going to bother you, just don't look at that arm, just look the other way,â?? said Karen Parker, blood donor.

â??There's people out there using the donations everyday and so we're so grateful for the donors who step forward and volunteer to give blood. And they know we want them to know the difference that it makes is really helping save lives at hospitals,â?? said Winn.

If you were unable to make it to the media blood drive on Thursday and would like to donate you can contact the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center at (641) 682-8149 or click here to visit their website.