TULSA - As the Oklahoma Blood Institute moves into the final stretch of its 40th anniversary year, it’s trying to get word out about what it does, and the need for extra help during the holidays.
In those four decades, OBI has grown to become the ninth-largest non-profit blood center in the nation.
OBI Recruitment Manager Kenda Burnham told KRMG Tuesday they serve about 90 percent of the hospitals in the state, and for most of them, are the only source of blood.
“That includes all childrens’, all veterans’, and all Indian hospitals in the state,” she said. “We also supply St. Francis Health Systems, which is the largest user of blood here in northeast Oklahoma.”
That requires a lot of donations.
“It takes close to 1,200 donors every single day to ensure we meet the needs of patients all across our systems,” Burnham said.
And that need does not go down during the holidays, but unfortunately donations often do.
“Holidays are a little more challenging, because people just get out of their regular routine,” Burnham told KRMG. “People are busy doing other things, so sometimes they forget to take time to give blood. So we still have patients in those hospitals, no matter what day of the year it is, that are counting on life-saving blood donors.”
The process takes about an hour for a standard donation, and she said most people actually qualify, even if they’ve traveled out of the country or had a tattoo.
But only about one in ten who can donate, actually do.