Odds Are You Will Need Blood Someday

Aging baby boomers give more than 60% of blood donations in the Panhandle.

And as this generation continues to age the need for young donors is rapidly growing.

Valarie Stevens the winner of the Coffee Memorial Blood Center's Hoops Madness.

Although she won a plasma TV and a fajita party for 20 she says she gives blood because there is no telling when she or her loved ones might need it. And for the last three years Stevens has been giving blood up to five times a year.

She says,"Maybe you need it or your kids would need it you know, at an early age or maybe giving birth you would need the blood transplants. So knowing you may need it some day or your kids my need it someday is a good reason to give."

With that in mind she continues to face one of her biggest fears.

"I hate needles. I'm still not over it. They just can't tell me when they're gonna do it. They just have to do and I look away and they can not warn me."

Even with the success of Hoops Madness this year the blood center is struggling to replenish its shelves.

Coffee Memorial's Vice President of Operations Joe McCormick says, "Obviously the blood drawn is gone. It's a constant day to day struggle to get people coming through the doors to meet the local needs."

He says if everyone would give blood one more time each year, there would never be a shortage.

"Anything we can do to encourage the young donors and get them coming in is the right thing to do."

Nearly two-thirds of the population will need donated blood at some point during their lives but only 5% give blood.

In the Panhandle donors average 1.8 donations a year. Only half of the donations needed to keep the blood center stocked.