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Blood in Phoenix banks in short supply after big holiday drain

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

PHOENIX — The holidays are typically seen as a time of giving, but that didn’t stop a massive drain on Phoenix-area blood banks.

United Blood Services said in a Wednesday press release that orders outpaced donations by 60 percent during the holidays in the Valley of the Sun, leaving banks with less than a half-day supply of certain types on its shelves.

The nonprofit, which supplies blood to 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, said demand is expected to increase in January as people tend to put off surgical procedures until after the holidays.

United Blood Services said it takes about 500 donors per day to meet demand and is hosting a drive Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tempe Center for the Arts, located near Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway.

“Your single donation can save several lives because blood can be separated into components,” Sid Lewis, senior donor recruitment director for United Blood Services Southwest Division, said in the release.

“In just one hour, you could be a hero for an accident victim, a person undergoing surgery and a child receiving treatment for cancer.”

Donors of all types are needed, especially those who are O-negative. People with that type are considered universal donors because it can be substituted for other types in an emergency.

People who donate Sunday will receive a voucher for a free 14-inch pizza from Streets of New York and a voucher for admission to the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Potential donors can learn more and schedule an appointment to make a donation online.

Editor’s note: KTAR News 92.3 FM is one of the sponsors of Sunday’s blood donation event.

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