Versiti Blood Center is calling for donations ahead of the holiday – Low Calorie Diets Tips

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Michigan’s Versiti Blood Center is working with three organizations to conduct two blood drives this weekend to ensure there is enough blood for the upcoming holiday and summer.

“We saw a really low blood supply in January and February. We’re getting pretty nervous about doing that again this holiday. The 4th of July is upon us and people aren’t making appointments like they used to… and we want to fight and face up to it to make sure we have the blood that’s needed for the holiday,” Dawn Kaiser, Area Vice President, said.

Kaiser said about 30% of Versiti’s donations come from schools and colleges. Since both are paused, it tries to catch up on the lost donations.

“We don’t make (blood) in a lab, we need the community. It’s a community commodity, so unless the community donates to the community, there will be no blood in our hospitals,” Kaiser said.


On Saturday, the Grand Rapids Griffins will be holding a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m Van Andel Arena Banquet Rooms B, C and D. Versiti hopes to collect 21 liters of blood.

Kaiser said everyone who donates will get a Bluetooth speaker while supplies last.

Walk-ins are welcome, but Kaiser said appointments are preferred. To make an appointment, call 866.642.56643 or Click here.


A blood drive will be held at Brown-Hutcherson Ministries on June 16 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm 618 Jefferson Ave SE. The drive is in partnership with the Brown-Hutcherson and the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute.

Sickle cell anemia is a disease that affects many African Americans. Part of treating sickle cell disease is getting monthly blood transfusions,” Kaiser said. “Only 3% of Black, African American people donate blood (and) people get better outcomes when they receive blood from someone like themselves.”

Kaiser said the commissioners would present a June 16 proclamation at the 9:30 a.m. event

To sign up to donate blood, click here.


To donate blood you need parental consent if you are 16 years old. If you are 17 years old, do not do this. There is no upper age limit.

In Michigan, donors must weigh at least 112 pounds Versiti’s website says so. Donors who are 16 to 18 years old also need to meet specifically Weight and Height Requirements.

“Most people think they can’t donate because they’re on blood pressure medication, (but) it’s totally fine as long as you’re within range when you donate,” Kaiser said.


“It’s the fear of the unknown,” Kaiser said. “When you donate for the first time, you feel a little pinch and that’s it, and then donate blood.”

She said many people said the worst thing was the finger prick during the mini physics, not the actual donation.

Kaiser said once you get over the fear and donate, “you feel so great because it’s this altruistic feeling of doing something bigger than yourself because by donating blood you could save up to three lives.”


Kaiser said anyone wishing to donate blood should make an appointment and be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a full meal before arriving.

When you show up for your appointment, you will be registered. This is where staff get your demographics and you can answer questions about medical history and travel.

A mini-physical will check your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and hemoglobin – the amount of packed red blood cells.

This is followed by blood letting or blood donation, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes with a needle in your arm.

When your donation is complete you will be sent to the snack area where you will be given a snack and juice or water.

Once your donation has been processed, Kaiser said you will receive an email letting you know where your donation has been sent.

Versiti collects three different types of donations from its blood drives:

  • thoroughbred
    • Donations can be made every eight weeks
  • Double Red: two units of packed red blood cells
    • Donations can be made every 16 weeks
  • Platelets: used for clotting and can be stored for five days
    • The donation lasts 1.5 hours and can be given twice a month

You can find more blood donations in your area at Versiti’s website.

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