Health Plus: Donate blood, save a life - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Donate blood, save a life


Every two seconds someone in the U.S. reportedly needs a blood transfusion.

January is National Blood Donor month.

In Health Plus, a reminder from one local hospital and the American Red Cross about how much any blood donation helps.

Patients at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo may never see Jackie VanKamen's face, but the work she and her staff are doing in the hospital's blood bank is saving lives.

"I feel that I have a very important position. It's behind the walls. Most people do not see the laboratory as something that's helping save them," lead medical technologist Jackie VanKamen said.

Thanks to eastern Iowa blood donations, the supply in the Cedar Valley is meeting the need.

And for every unit stored in this lab, someone had to roll up a sleeve and donate.

"One donation can help save up to three lives. That blood can be used for cancer patients, trauma victims, people with blood disorders. Just maybe a scheduled surgery. Everyone knows someone that's needed blood before," said Bobbi Snethen with the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross counts on donors to keep the process pumping--from your arm, through its collection centers to the hospital and into a patient's IV.

"You might hear from donors that we call often and you know we are always asking. The need is constant and so we kind of operate in the same way an emergency room does," she said. 

Jackie and her staff prepare blood for everyone from accident victims to transplant recipients.

"They can't just go somewhere and pick something off the shelf for blood. It has to be tested and we're very proud of our work that we do. It's a very controlled area."

If Covenant runs short--the American Red Cross can usually deliver blood within an hour.

Don't miss your chance to save a life.

You can donate blood at Covenant Medical Center on Tuesday, January 31 from 8am-12pm.

The hospital is located at 3421 West Ninth Street in Waterloo.

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