Avera Medical Minute: Critical need for blood donors during pandemic

Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Life looks much better for Chris Hovaldt a year and a half after his bone marrow transplant.

"I was diagnosed with anemia and which basically was, as my doctor explained it to me, the easiest form of that was, my own blood, it didn't produce any white blood cells," said Hovaldt.

Before his transplant, he relied on others and their blood donations to make it through the day.

"Became almost instantly became dependent on transfusions to stay alive," said Hovaldt.

“But it’s a really scary thing when you’re sitting there getting a transfusion and you hear over the, over the hospital speakers: ‘we’re low on this, one this we’re low on that. Anybody that can donate please donate,” said Hovaldt.

At the Community Blood Bank donation center, the room is too quiet these days. Ken Versteeg is the executive director.

“So right now we are in a critical appeal for blood, meaning that we cannot maintain our blood supply for our patients in the community without seeing a large number of people come in to donate blood,”

said Versteeg.

Whether you give at a donation center or bloodmobile, everything is prepared for your protection.

“We have to sanitize in between each blood donation. Our staff wear masks we ask that the donors wear masks as well. We also honor social distancing,” said Versteeg.

During the pandemic, it can be a pretty good feeling to help others by donating blood. Blood drive numbers are low right now because many employers have their staff working at home.

"If you can get onto it, I pray to go do it. And there's not a day I don't wake up and thank God I'm still here because of it," said Hovaldt.

Since his transplant, Chris has had clear results for all four bone marrow biopsies, but he'll never forget the life-giving blood that pulled him through.

"If you're scared of a needle. I would say this. Look at your Mom, look at your children. Look at your parents, your, your siblings. If that doesn't do it, look out the window at your neighbors. You don't know who it's going to go to and when they're gonna need it, they might need it today," said Hovaldt.

To book an appointment to donate blood, go to

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