Versiti: Need for blood donations critical at hospitals

A donation center that provides blood, platelets, and plasma to dozens of Michigan hospitals is in desperate need of donors.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:15 AM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - A donation center that provides blood, platelets, and plasma to dozens of Michigan hospitals is in desperate need of donors.

Kellie Sopczynski, manager of Versiti donor services, said they are “vulnerable” due to the pandemic and the subsequent lack of donations.

“Ever since the pandemic, we’ve seen, you know, fluctuations,” Sopczynski said. “Not just in the blood supply, but the need for the blood supply, the need at the hospitals as well.”

The donations commonly help cancer and trauma patients as well as children and mothers throughout the childbirth process.

Versiti provides critical donations to 85 hospitals in Michigan, including Covenant, Ascension hospitals in the northern part of Michigan, and the Beaumont and Henry Ford Health systems.

Sopczynski wants people to keep in mind their donation could help someone they know.

“It could be a relative. It could be a family friend. It could be a neighbor, and one hour of your time gives them the opportunity to have that blood product on the shelf that could save their lives,” she said.

While all blood types are welcome, Versiti is most in need of O-positive and O-negative blood types. O-positive is the most common and O-negative is universal.

Potential donors have to be screened and must be at least 17-years-old. Donors can be 16 so long as a parent or guardian provides consent.

Joan Webber is a former nurse who knows firsthand how important the donations are. She was donating blood at one of Versiti’s three centers on Tuesday.

“We lost a daughter in 2020 during the COVID to lymphoma,” Webber said. “So, I’m still able to donate plasma and platelets at my age.”

Versiti has donor centers in Saginaw, Bay City, and Midland.

Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are also welcome.

To set up an appointment or to learn more, visit versiti.org.