LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The pandemic disrupted the usual blood patterns at the Kentucky Blood Center, but a change in restrictions for some donors is offering a glimmer of hope.
Among those who are being welcomed back to the Blood Center are military veterans who spent time serving overseas.
"The fears about the transmittal of Mad Cow [Disease] have lessened and then also the known issue of us not having enough blood donors, especially considering a global pandemic that we're going through," Kentucky Blood Center Vice President of External Relations Mandy Brajuha said. "And right now, there's critical blood shortages across the country so this couldn't have come at a better time for us."
Brajuha said in the past few days she and her team have had the chance to reach out to veterans who wanted them to call when this ban was lifted.
"They're so excited to come back," she said. "A lot of these folks are proud military veterans who want to be of service and want to donate blood because they know the impact it has on the military and so it's been really great."
The change in restrictions also applies to other individuals with certain health records or study abroad trips.
"It also lessens some one-year deferral periods for certain things, like if you'd received a blood transfusion," Brajuha said. "Previously you couldn't donate blood for another year. Now they've less than that to three months so there's quite a few things that have gone from a year deferral to a three-month deferral. Then also, opening back up for a lot of these donors who spent time overseas."
If you fall in one of the newly accepted categories, the Kentucky Blood Center asks that you fill out a form to request your eligibility review. Click here to fill out the form.
Brajuha explained this lift of restrictions will bring back thousands of donors at a time when donations are dire.
"For us, when we've been looking for answers around every corner right now, 'how do we combat these blood shortages?' It's not just something we're failing in Kentucky our counterparts in New Orleans, Iowa, Gainesville across America are seeing less and less blood donations," she said. "We're not able to even get blood from our other fellow blood centers. This is a glimmer of hope. This allows us the chance to bring people back into the fold, who were loyal blood donor for many years."
To schedule a blood donation appointment, visit the Kentucky Blood Center's website.