It’s not a crisis yet, but officials at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center said the decline in blood donors during the holiday season is a problem.
“We experience a decline in donations typically starting around Thanksgiving all the way through about January,” said Monica Mendez, spokeswoman for the center’s parent company, BioBridge Global. “People have family obligations. It’s the holidays, it’s your vacation time. There's a lot of people traveling, a lot of students out of school so we experience a decrease in donors.”
The lack of donors could not come at a worse time.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration two of the deadliest days for traffic fatalities fall during the holiday season.
New Year’s Day is the worst.
Residents who decided to donate on Thursday said it’s even more of a reason to roll up their sleeves and give back.
“God has blessed me with good health and unfortunately there's others out there that aren't in such good health and it's my pleasure and my honor to come help them,” said Mark Matlock.
“I know there's a need, so I’m trying to help in any way possible,” said Sonya St. Cyr. “It's not donated very often. People don't generally think of donating blood. It’s more food, clothes, things of that nature, so I just wanted to help in a different way.”
Hospitals are especially in need of types O negative, A negative, B negative, and A/B negative blood.
Platelet donors are also in demand.
Just one pint of blood can help three different people, and Mendez said blood donated in San Antonio is not always used locally.
“Our priority is to assist our immediate community, however when there are situations, for example, severe weather conditions like the DFW area has experienced, we always try to help them out so their patients have the blood they need.”