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Valley blood supply is critically low

Valley blood supply is critically low{ } (Photo: FOX26 News Photojournalist Zack Holman)
Valley blood supply is critically low (Photo: FOX26 News Photojournalist Zack Holman)
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The cupboard is critically low at the Central California Blood Center.

Four days after Thanksgiving, the blood center is sounding the alarm.

"The need for blood never goes away," said marketing director Ersilia Lacaze. "We do our absolute best all year to ask people to come and donate but it is particularly critical right now."

When the supply is low the blood center relies on blood drives, but due to COVID-19, blood drives are almost non-existent this year.

"We do as much as we can but we've had several blood drives canceled throughout the year," said Lacaze. "We've had hundreds of blood drives canceled actually which represents thousands of units we were not able to collect."

The blood center is now playing catchup in the final 32 days of the year.

The center needs former, present and prospective donors to give up an hour of their time for a pint of blood.

Galen Van Aalsburg has given more than 7 gallons of blood in his lifetime. "I got out of the habit and a few years later somebody called or needed blood and I said, 'I can do that.' Since then it's been every eight weeks," said Van Aalsburg.

Lacaze says right now people are focused on the holiday, they're traveling or distracted in the final weeks of 2020. But she says hospitals need blood.

"People still have to have surgeries. People still, unfortunately, experience trauma which requires blood products. None of that ever stops," said Lacaze.

A sobering statistic from the Central California Blood Center is of all the people eligible to donate, only 10% actually do it.

The center is hoping that trend will change in the final month of the year.

There are three Central California Blood Centers in Fresno and one in Visalia.

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