Blood donations down during holidays, but need still there

A beanie hat is one thing you could get if you donate blood this holiday season.

AUSTIN - From free ice cream to a new winter hat, the blood center in Central Texas -- We Are Blood -- is giving all sorts of incentives to donate. 

"It's really painless,” said Jim Janknegt. "I donate as often as I can.”

Janknegt is happy to help. 

"It's kind of like a civic duty I think. If you're able to do it, you should do it,” said Janknegt. "This time of year, you know, they need a lot of blood.”

Clyde Earl Carter has been donating for 20 years.

"I'm helping someone. I'm doing something,” said Carter. "It makes me feel good."

He’s helping someone like Paula Jean Willis Simpson's son. Simpson donates in honor of him. 

"I donate for a number of reasons, but my son was real sick, and he went through several surgeries. He had to have blood, and somebody had to give it to him,” said Simpson. 

Shaina Novotny is the vice president of community engagement with We Are Blood and said Central Texas has that need all the time. 

"It is the blood on our shelves when something happens that save lives,” said Novotny. 

But, during this time of year, the donations are down. 

"People around the holidays are just understandably really busy,” said Novotny. 

She said they need about 200 people to donate blood each day to keep up with demand.

But about 50 percent of those people donate at a mobile drive, which often don't run during the holiday season. 

And while many people gave and donated right after Hurricane Harvey, blood only has a shelf life of 42 days, meaning they need new donors now. 

"While they made a huge impact when that happened, that blood went to patients already,” said Novotny. 

So We Are Blood is offering a few incentives for people to give. 

"We have all sorts of fun things going on right now,” said Novotny. 

From free Amy's Ice cream to "barbecue Saturdays" to a surprise giveaway, they're doing whatever they can to encourage people to donate. 

Dec. 22 will be the last day of their 12 Days of Giving promotion. 

If you give during the month of December, you can get a free pint of Amy’s Ice Cream.

On Dec. 23, they will have LeRoy And Lewis Barbecue at their donation locations, and if you give during the New Year’s weekend, you’ll get a free beanie hat. 

If you donate between Jan. 2 and Jan. 7, you can get a voucher for a free breakfast taco from Tacodeli. 

It’s all to get a message across that's vital to so many people such as Simpson. She is truly thankful for all who gave blood for her son. 

"Had they not done that, he may not be here,” said Simpson. 

You can find We Are Blood's hours here

Baylor Scott and White hospital is also asking you to donate. They're hosting a blood drive on Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Scott and White Sports Medicine rehabilitation clinic. It's located at 5353 Williams Drive in Georgetown.

© 2018 KVUE-TV


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