GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The American Red Cross has had 80,000 fewer donors since May than usual, meaning every drop of blood being donated counts right now.
"It's just good for society," said Mike Gardner, who has donated blood about 300 times. "If there's anything that you could have a chance to give to society, then you really have an obligation to do it."
The St. Mary's Regional Blood Center isn't in a severe blood shortage like centers in other parts of the country, but the center does see up to a 30% drop in donations during the summer months while regular donors go on vacation or become occupied with other summer activities.
The center supplies 12 Western Slope hospitals with blood, but it will also give excess blood to hospitals in shortage situations.
"At least 90-95% does stay here," said Dr. Aaron Long, of St. Mary's Blood Center. "It's nice to be able to help out some of the other areas that don't have perhaps as loyal as a blood donor group as we do."
Dr. Long attributes the center's own stability right now to a dedicated group of donors compared to other blood donation centers.
"Keep us well supplied, so we aren’t in a crisis situation," he said. "We’re always trying to keep those donors and keep the first time donors to become more regular donors."
For the month of August, if anyone donates a pint of blood at the center, the donor will also get a free pint of ice cream.