The Garth Englund Blood Center is calling on the public in northern Colorado to help end a critical shortage of blood needed for surgical and blood transfusion patients at Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies.

Blood donations typically drop off during the holidays and pick up in early January. This year, however, the number of donations has yet to increase. Employees of PVH, MCR and other University of Colorado Health services in northern Colorado donated during the holidays to help fend off shortages.

Garth Englund Blood Center, which is part of UCHealth, annually receives about 9,700 donated pints, the common term used to describe a unit of blood for transfusion. A pint is the amount a person can donate once every 56 days.

However, more than 12,000 units a year are needed. This required the center to purchase blood from other blood centers. The cost ranges from $280 for a pint of red blood cells to $690 for platelets.

In addition to taking blood donations at Garth Englund in Fort Collins and Loveland, the center conducted 95 mobile blood drives in 2012, going on-site at local businesses, high schools and public events. The center also relies on its 37-foot bloodmobile to conduct mobile blood drives.

How to donate:

Appointments to donate blood can be made by calling the center in Fort Collins, 970-495-8965, or its location in Loveland, 970-624-1550.

It’s also possible to make appointments online: pvhs.org/bloodcenter.

Walk-in donors are also welcomed. In Loveland, the Garth Englund center is located in MCR; in Fort Collins, 1025 Pennock Place, Suite 104, two blocks north of PVH.

All blood types are needed. The most critical needs are for O Positive and O Negative.

To donate, a person must be at least 18 years old, or 17 with a parent’s permission, and show a photo identification. New donors must weigh at least 120 pounds and be in good health. Prior donors must weight at least 110 pounds.

For other regulations, hours and information about the donation process, go to pvhs.org/bloodcenter.

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