Dire Need For Blood Donations

The American Red Cross is beginning to experience a “crisis within a crisis.” Due to canceled blood drives across the country, the nation’s blood supply is dangerously low. There are some upcoming local opportunities to help.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood – whether it is someone undergoing cancer treatment, someone who has been in an accident and even premature babies.

Cynthia De la Torre – a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross says they’re counting on the public to help beef up the blood supply.

“Blood is not manufactured,” she said. “It cannot be stockpiled and it has a shelf life of 42 days – so as soon as we are receiving that blood we are providing that blood to the 2500 hospitals across the nation. So our volunteer blood donors are very important to us and it’s the only source for life-saving blood.”

7,000 blood drives have been canceled since the outbreak of COVID-19 resulting in 200,000 fewer donations. Even so, she says blood collection can still happen during these days of social distancing.

She says it’s safe to donate blood, given the restrictions of COVID-19.

“Most blood drives are not considered mass gatherings,” she said.  “These are controlled events and our staff is trained with appropriate safety measures to protect donors and recipients. So, it’s important to note that at each blood drive and donation center, our employees follow thorough and have been following thorough safety protocols even before COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of any infection. So, we have implemented new safety protocols. We take temperatures of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they’re healthy. We provide hand sanitizer for use before entering the drive as well as throughout you know the donation process. We space beds wherever possible to follow social distancing practices and also you know just increase the disinfecting of surfaces.”

She adds it’s important to make an appointment so they can help manage the timing of when people are giving blood. You can go online to make an appointment here.

She says there is no evidence that any respiratory viruses are transmitted by giving or receiving blood.

The next drive is being held at the Wasatch County Health Dept. on Thursday, from 1 to 6 pm. Lee’s Market and Heber Valley Medical Center also have planned blood drives on Monday, March 30th.

In Summit County, the next drive is scheduled for April 7th at Advice Media at Kimball Junction and on April 13th at the PC MARC. You can see the list of upcoming blood drives online at kpcw.org

Blood can be also accepted at the Salt Lake City Blood Donation Center, located at 6616 South 900 East.

UPCOMING BLOOD DRIVES:

Thursday, March 26th – 1 – 6 pm

Wasatch County Health Department – 55 South 500 East, Heber City

Monday, March 30th – 10 am – 4 pm

Heber Valley Medical Center. 1485 South Hwy 40, Heber City

Monday, March 30th – 2 pm – 7 pm

Lee’s Marketplace – 890 South Main St., Heber City

Tuesday, March 31st – 10 am – 3 pm

Sheraton Park City –  1895 Sidewinder Drive, Park City

Tuesday, April 7th – 9 am – 3 pm

Advice Media – 1389 Center Drive #230, Park City

Monday, April 13th – 10 am – 3 pm

PC MARC – 1200 Little Kate Road, Park City

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.