If there's one thing that the federal government does really well, it's dumping mountains of regulations on its citizenry. The bureaucrats in charge would tell you it's all for our own good, to keep us safe and healthy. Those tasked with implementing those regulations are not always in agreement.

Take, for example, our good friends at the Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC). Their entire mission revolves around keeping people safe and healthy. However, In May of this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented changes to the blood donor eligibility guidelines. These changes created even smaller donor pools by narrowing the acceptable hemoglobin, pulse and blood pressure levels required for donation. Since June 1, the Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) has seen a 7% increase in donor deferrals, most can be attributed to these new guidelines. That equates to a loss of more than 2,000 units of blood annually. In order to resume adequate blood collection numbers, RRVBC must add new or lapsed donors to the active donor pool. There is currently less than a 1 day supply of most blood types, 3-5 day supplies are preferred.

I've often referred to our friend Jen Bowman, the PR and Marketing Director for the RRVBC sending me notes to share with you about the "urgent needs' of the RRVBC, especially around the summer holidays. Given the effects of the federal regulations, Jen says:

“We realize we are constantly going public with the great need for blood donors. Routinely, things like age, travel, medications, apathy and illness impact a donor’s willingness to donate. These things are being further impacted by more stringent blood donor eligibility guidelines set forth by the FDA. We have no other option than to try and educate the community on the importance of an adequate blood supply and to recruit more blood donors. Young people, new people to the area, major employers, they can all play a part in helping to stabilize the blood supply. Regular, consistent blood donations are the only way to ensure we have the blood products available when area hospitals make the call.”

You truly can make a positive impact in the community by rolling up your sleeve at the RRVBC, or at any of their frequent blood drives. For more information, go to rrvbc.org, or call the Rock River Valley Blood Center at 877-778-2299.