FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) Only 3% of the U.S. population donates blood, and the local blood bank is feeling the shortage.
"We are in a situation where there isn't enough blood on the shelves for our local needs," said Jennifer Bredahl, Community Ambassador Director for Vitalant. "We need to take care of our community and the only people that can do that are the people that come and roll up their sleeve. Even if it's their first time, we ask that you come and give it a try."
Vitalant is the only blood donation center in Fargo. They provide blood for nearly every hospital in North Dakota, as well as some hospitals in Minnesota and South Dakota.
They say they've been seeing a blood shortage, which is leaving physicians with a tough decision to make.
"They start triaging their patients," explained Fran Milner, Vitalant Senior Director of Hospital Services. "If they have a critical patient, they'll give them the blood product rather than someone that can wait possibly for a few hours or overnight."
Sitting down for 10 minutes to donate blood can do much more than most people imagine.
"You can save up to 3 lives when you donate," said Bredahl. "So it's an amazing feeling when you walk out the door at the end of the donation."
The whole process is quite easy, starting with sitting a comfortable chair. You will then get scrubbed in and ready to go. The entire process takes anywhere from 8-10 minutes.
"It's a great way to give back to the community without financially having to give anything," said Bredahl. "We really need it. It's the only way to save lives in our community."
While making the donation, Vitalant will provide you with books and snacks to make your time enjoyable.
For those worried about the pain, one woman who was mid-donation said the pain was nothing to worry about and that it was just a little poke.
To get more information about donating blood,