The director of a blood bank is urging communities to donate blood at local drives like the two that will take place in the desert Friday due to urgently low blood supplies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

“We urgently need your help,” LifeSteam Blood Bank’s President and Medical Director Dr. Rick Axelrod said on Tuesday. “Today we have less than a six-hour supply of O-positive and O-negative… Our local donors haven’t been supporting us like they have in the past. I’m asking you — I’m urging you — please come in and help.”

One drive will be held in Rancho Mirage at the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau drive at 70-100 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the other at the Stater Bros. at 57075 Twentynine Palms Highway in Yucca Valley from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Participating donors will receive free cholesterol screenings, Escalante said.

Axelrod added that 30 percent of blood is imported locally. Much of that blood is imported from Colorado, which was hit with a snowstorm causing the supply stream to decrease to its dangerously low levels.

Group O red cells are the most commonly used blood types, Escalante said.

“O negative is compatible with everyone so may be transfused to any patient and is especially critical to have on hand for emergency situation to help stabilize patients until their blood type can be determined — while O positive red cells can be safely transfused to about 85 percent of the population,” according to Escalante.

While the group O types are the most common, Escalante said that “about 15 percent of us have a negative blood type so we’re hoping more of those donors come forward, also.”

Donors must be at least 15 years of age, though donors under 18 must provide written parental consent. Parent consent forms are available at the drive or at

Prospective donors must be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis.

Lifestream services more than 80 Southern California hospitals in six counties, according to Escalante. If you’d like to donate blood, but are unable to make the drive, you can donate seven days a week at LifeStream’s La Quinta Donor Center at 79-215 Corporate Centre Drive.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.