Amid shortage, Deer Valley to host blood drive
October 21, 2016
Utah's blood banks are experiencing a shortage.
Lance Bandley, community relations supervisor for ARUP Blood Services, a nonprofit that provides blood to dozens of hospitals in Utah, said he's never seen anything like it. Growth at the hospitals has meant blood usage is up 40 percent over last year, and the blood banks are struggling to keep pace.
"It's the biggest one-year increase we've ever seen in the history of our company," he said. "… We've just never seen a spike like this and it's sustained. Sometimes you get a busy trauma weekend, with lots of crashes and things like that, then it goes back down. But this just keeps going up."
That's why the efforts of Park City residents at the end of October will be vitally important, he said. Deer Valley Resort is set to hold its 13th annual Transylvania Tea Party blood drive Oct. 31. Last year, more than 90 people donated 63 units of blood at the Halloween-themed event, and Bandley is counting on even more people to contribute this year.
"This is definitely one of the best blood drives of the year, and we're just appreciative of everybody that helps out," he said. "We've had over 400 donations in just the last seven years, so it's a big deal to us. And it's the perfect time — right before all the snow starts to hit. It's a fantastic blood drive."
Christie Delbridge, staff relationships coordinator for Deer Valley, said the resort's staff looks forward to the blood drive all year. Many employees dress up in costumes and all of them understand the importance of donating blood.
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"It's a great way for our employees to be able to give back, and Deer Valley supports it so we can do it at work, which makes it nice and convenient," she said. "It's something people count as at least one of their donation times during the calendar year."
While many of the blood donors are Deer Valley staffers, the event is open to the public. The blood drive will be held on the second level of the Snow Park Lodge, and attendees can come from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk-ins are accepted, or residents can make appointments by calling the resort at 435-645-6654.
Bandley said all blood types are needed, particularly O positive and O negative. Donors must be 16 — with parental permission — or older and be in healthy condition, with no symptoms of a sickness for at least three days.
"This year is just critical for us," he said. "If there's anybody else that can come, bring the whole family. Come and donate blood, just because the need is great."
For more information on donating blood, visit ARUP's website, utahblood.org.