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Flu season creates need for blood donors

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The flu outbreak has left doctors' offices and emergency rooms full, but it has had the opposite effect at blood banks around the country. 

The Community Blood Center is seeing too many empty blood bags and empty donor chairs, and part of the reason keeping so many people away is the pesky flu again.

"Things have been pretty slow here, we definitely need people to come out and donate," said Stann Tate, the Community Blood Center's director of marketing.

But in order to donate, people first have to be healthy.

So an aggressive flu virus is now stopping many people at the door, to the office and the blood center.

"We've had people cancel appointments. We've had a number of our mobile drives that really haven't done well, because again, we go out to churches, schools, large businesses, small businesses, community centers to collect blood. And when they don't show up, well then we've missed that opportunity to collect," Tate said.

Right now, the blood center is counting on loyal donors, like Sarah McDaniel, to get them through the slow times. She comes out every eight weeks.

And it is staggering to think how many people she has helped.

"Every pint of blood you donate can save up to two lives," Tate said.

That's 272 people all in the Kansas City metro with a second chance at life, thanks to McDaniel's gift.

"I must admit, this is my community service project," McDaniel said.

The Community Blood Center said they would love to see more people do a day of service year-round with them starting now, because what begins as a few canceled appointments can quickly become a danger to those in need.

"We start seeing appointments missed and then eventually it will trickle down to the hospitals, where they're not able to get the blood that they need," Tate said.

To get involved, visit http://www.savealifenow.org or just stop by your closest Community Blood Center.

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