‘Memorial’ Blood Drive Slated

The need for blood donations increases during the summer months, but annual vacations and leave cause a dip in donations. Memorial Day weekend is one of the least attended blood drive days of the entire year.

Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home and Rock Bottom Beers and Burgers are hosting a blood drive next week with LifeServe Blood Center of Sioux City, Iowa.

The event will be held at Rock Bottom Beers and Burgers in Yankton on May 29 from 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

The inspiration for this blood drive is to give people an opportunity to donate blood in memory of someone who has passed away. Organizers are calling it a "memorial" blood drive for that reason.

People are invited to make the donation to keep the memory of that person alive and to honor them in a respectful fashion, said Kevin Opsahl, owner of Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home.

"You come in and you give blood and you actually write down the name or names of persons you are remembering as you give blood in their memory," Opsahl said. "We are going to add that to a list and have a thank you note (published) later."

Opsahl and Courtney Villalobos, owner of Rock Bottom Beers and Burgers, hope to make this an annual event.

"One pint (of blood) saves three lives. That’s huge," Opsahl said. "So the gift is tremendously important."

In addition to a location, Rock Bottom will be providing a recovery meal to all those who give blood at the event.

"I’m big on (being) family oriented and giving back, and what better way to give back than to donate blood and help someone save a life," Villalobos said. "If people give the gift of life, we from Rock Bottom are giving back to those people. We are going to be grilling hotdogs and hamburgers and we’ll have sodas and chips for free for every person that comes in and donates."

LifeServe Blood Center will be prepared to prescreen every potential donor.

Claire DeRoin, community relations coordinator for LifeServe Blood Center, said that those interested in giving blood should allow about an hour for the whole process because of the prescreening examination.

The actual draw takes just a few minutes, she said.

DeRoin also emphasized that sometimes people think that fasting is necessary before giving blood, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, so blood donors should not fast before donating, she said.

Walk-ins are welcome, though potential donors may also register online at liveservebloodcenter.org or by calling 800-287-4903.

Some requirements include:

• must be 17 or older;

• In good general health and feeling well;

• weigh at least 110 pounds;

• not have donated blood in the last 56 days.

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