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Valley doctors call for blood donations as Dorian causes nationwide shortage

Local efforts to help Hurricane victims

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - The effects of Hurricane Dorian are being felt here in the Coachella Valley, particularly when it comes to blood donations.

As Dorian tracks up the east coast, it's slowing the nations blood supply as people aren't able to donate, creating a shortage that reaches across the country to patients in valley hospitals.

Dick Hill tries to donate his blood whenever he can. "It's really simple, just sitting down and taking your blood," Hill said. His donation is helping to save as many as six lives in one sittnig.

"It's self rewarding," Hill said. "I feel like I'm giving back to the people who are in need of it." 

Donors like Hill are in short supply as doctors say Hurricane Dorian is disrupting the flow of blood to our region.

"The cancellation of blood drives has been happening since Monday and will be going on all week," said Dr. Rick Axelrod, president, CEO, and medical director of LifeStream Blood Bank. "The impact is thousands and thousands of units which will impact for 4 to 8 weeks the rest of the country."

The shortage comes right as the valley's blood supply is traditionally at its lowest point of the year. 

"During the summertime, the snowbirds leave the area -- they're not here to be donating blood and schools are out of session," Axelrod said.

Blood is a precious resource for hospitals and patients. Without it, doctors say surgeries and cancer treatments can be disrupted. 

"I know it's needed and I know the valley's low too," Cynthia Cerda said. She saw our report and came to donate. "Whoever we can help, whether there or here, if we can do it, we'll do it," she said.

In minutes she was done, and maybe lives were saved.

If you would like to donate blood or host a blood drive, you can visit LStream.org or call 760-777-8844.

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com


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