Good turnout for blood drive, but still not enough |

Good turnout for blood drive, but still not enough

Sarah Gonser

Dan Kern has donated blood 127 times. Kay Bromen 66 times and Shirley Taylor 27 times.

These South Shore residents aren’t masochists, they’re just committed to helping save lives. Each donates on a regular basis, and Tuesday’s South Lake Tahoe community blood drive sponsored by the Barton Hospital Auxiliary, was no exception.

“I’ve donated faithfully for years,” said Shirley Taylor, while drinking orange juice and taking her mandatory 10 minute break after donating blood. “I think it’s an important thing to do.”

The problem is that Kern, Bromen and Taylor form a minority of the population. In fact, only 4 percent of the national population donates blood, according to the Sacramento Medical Foundation Blood Center. South Lake Tahoe is just a bit better, with 5 percent of residents donating.

Still, those numbers are very low. According to Susanne Michaels, account manager for the Blood Center, by the time Americans reach the age of 72, almost 95 percent will have used donated blood.

Since 1966, South Lake Tahoe community blood drives have collected 13,500 units (one unit per donor) of blood, which after it is tested and processed, serves 41 Northern California counties.

“We average 100 to 150 donations per blood drive,” said Patricia Amundson, drive coordinator. “The funny thing is, when it snows we have more people. But when it’s really nice, everyone wants to go out and play and our numbers drop.”

Future blood drives are scheduled April 19, June 21, Aug. 23 and Oct. 25 at the El Dorado County Library on Rufus Allen Boulevard, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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