'We need people:' Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin in critical need of blood donations

Dr. Thomas Abshire

MILWAUKEE -- While the state is slowly reopening -- schools and universities remain closed. That means many blood drives are still canceled. Now, Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin says it is critical blood donors show up this month.

Blood has a shelf life. Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin has stayed open through the pandemic to provide a steady supply of blood to hospitals.

"Because we just don’t have our usual way to get donors in, we need people to come to our fix sites.” Dr. Thomas Abshire, Chief Medical Officer for Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin

Versiti saw a surge in donations at the start of the pandemic, which helped them get through the end of April. Now, with things reopening, they are once again putting out the call for help.

“As social distancing and the opening up of our state is changing, and people are driving now. Unfortunately, that comes with more trauma, and elective surgeries are starting again, so the need for blood is there, but the way we get the blood is still a problem," said Dr. Abshire.

“It’s really no inconvenience. It’s really not a burden," said Kris Kavelaris, regular blood donor.

Kris Kavelaris

Kris Kavelaris credits the blood donations he received with saving his life. He hopes other people see the importance of making this part of your routine.

"If not me and you, who? If not now, when? It’s not hard. It’s not inconvenient," said Kavelaris.

Versiti says it especially needs donors with O-negative blood.

Versiti is asking all donors to wear a mask. The centers has a number of social distancing practices in place to keep donors safe.