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“Unite Springfield” blood drive aims to support shooting victims and lift blood shortage

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 9:34 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A critically low blood supply is driving a local organization to plead for help. Community Blood Center of the Ozarks needs donors to beef up supplies of all blood types. This week, the group is giving back on the behalf of those who give blood this week.

Since the pandemic hit southwest Missouri in the spring, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks has had to cancel or postpone 300 blood drives. That’s led to the loss of nearly 10,000 donations, which means it’s hard keeping the shelves stocked.

This week, CBCO will hold a new blood drive at its Springfield Donor Center to try to ease that shortage.

“I definitely feel like we have something we owe to our community. It’s a trying time, it’s a trying year," said Cole Howerton. "I felt like it’d be a good thing to do my part.”

Cole Howerton gave blood for the first time in a few years on Monday. He came to the Springfield Donor Center after hearing blood was in short supply.

“Your blood’s going to somebody who needs it, and in a time where they could potentially not get any," Howerton said.

Donors like him are exactly who the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is calling on right now.

“A critical appeal is issued on all blood types. We’ve got less than a one-day supply on all blood types," said Chris Pilgrim.

Pilgrim said the low supply does not meet increasing demand. He said hospital usage rates are the highest they’ve been in three years.

“It shows that our hospitals are up and are running normally so we have to get our blood supply up and running normally as quickly as possible," Pilgrim said.

CBCO will try to do that with a special blood drive this week honoring the victims of a Springfield convenience store shooting killed four people, including Springfield Police Officer Chris Walsh. Tuesday will mark six months since the tragedy.

“We thought it’d be appropriate to have the Unite Springfield Blood Drive to invite people to give blood as a remembrance of those victims, those living after the tragedy and to the families of those victims as well,” Pilgrim said.

For every blood donation, CBCO will give $5 to the Kum and Go 3/15 Relief Fund through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Donors will also be given t-shirts.

Howerton said giving life to others makes his own mean more.

“Pass on the health you’ve been given to people that don’t have those luxuries right now," Howerton said.

Anyone interested in donating in honor of the Kum and Go shooting victims can do so at the Springfield Donor Center at Plainview Road and Campbell. That drive will last from Tuesday until Thursday.

Appointments for the drive are encouraged but not required.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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