Versiti calls for donors during 2-day 'Season of Giving' blood drive

NOW: Versiti calls for donors during 2-day ’Season of Giving’ blood drive

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Tis the season for giving, and right now you're being asked to donate blood, if you can.

Versiti is hosting its 21st annual Giving Blood Drive at the Milwaukee County Zoo Monday, Dec. 27 and Tuesday, Dec. 28.

"Well, it's something that we can give for free, that we'll always have abundance of to be able to share with everyone," said Milwaukee resident Cristina Gonzales.

Versiti hopes to collect 500 units of blood during this two-day drive.

That's a donation total they say would be easier to achieve in less urgent times.

Versiti Chief Operating Officer Brian Bautista told CBS 58 that area hospitals are down to about a one-day supply of blood -- something they'd prefer to keep at least two to three days.

Recent tragedies, as in Waukesha and the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused blood totals to remain lower than average nationwide.

"Throughout the pandemic, blood donation and blood collection has always been an essential part of the health care system. Unfortunately, because we have limited access to places like schools or different campuses for employers, it's getting harder and harder to collect blood," said Bautista.

All blood types are needed, with the universal type O-positive and O-negative most in demand.

"Anyone 17 or older who is in good health and meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to donate blood. Parental consent is required for 16-year-olds to donate. Appointments are preferred to ensure a quick and convenient donation, but walk-in donors are also welcome. The entire process takes about an hour. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

As a token of gratitude, all attempting donors will receive free same-day zoo admission, along with a ticket for a future visit, a $10 e-gift card and a festive Bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. All donors will also automatically be entered into the Drive to Save Lives Sweepstakes to win an SUV," according to the Versiti press release.

The Versiti Season of Giving Blood Drive runs from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Walk-in donors are welcome. To make an appointment, call 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376) or visit versiti.org.

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