Archive for Monday, September 28, 2009

Community Blood Center closes its doors

Lawrence is now without a place to donate blood every day of the week.

September 28, 2009


The Kansas City, Mo.-based Community Blood Center on Saturday closed its Lawrence walk-in center, 1410 Kasold Drive.

Now, if residents want to donate life-saving blood, they need to wait for a blood drive or visit a nearby Community Blood Center in Topeka, Overland Park or Olathe.

Stann Tate, director of marketing, said the economic slump caused the nonprofit to evaluate business, and Lawrence was targeted because of a lack of donations.

Tate said the 11-year-old center accounts for only 2 percent of the approximately 150,000 annual donations. The company supplies blood and blood products to more than 70 hospitals throughout the region, including Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Tate said the company plans blood drives here, adding that the best way to schedule an appointment to give blood is through its Web site,

Tate said the need for blood and blood products in the region has decreased this year.

But, Faith Nilhas, blood bank supervisor at LMH, said that’s not the case.

“Our need has pretty much stayed stable over the last year. So the need is still there for us,” she said.

LMH uses about 175 pints of blood a month.

“If they are saying they will meet that need with more mobile collections, then I guess that’s OK as long as we don’t see that we are having problems getting blood,” Nilhas said. “I just think it’s important for people in this area to know that we do still need donors and I hope they go to wherever the mobile blood drive is that is most convenient.”

The hospital offers a blood drive about every 56 days, which is how often people can donate. The next drive will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday in the LMH auditorium, 325 Maine. To schedule an appointment call 505-6176 or click on and enter sponsor code lawrencehosp. People also can stop by to donate.

Jane Blocher, director of the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross, said she would miss the center.

“It was nice to have the option of referring those who wanted to give blood immediately over to the Community Blood Center instead of having them wait until one of our drives were available.”

She added that the need for “blood is always critical.”


labmonkey 8 years, 7 months ago

I remember the place being packed on Sept. 11, 2001. I met many nice people there that day.

BigPrune 8 years, 7 months ago

It's all about demographics......It's a well known fact that liberals would rather receive than give so now our community will get our blood from more conservative communities. What will the liberals think that the blood they receive is coming from a conservative? Hopefully it shouldn't matter to most of them.

igby 8 years, 7 months ago

What will the homeless, drug addicts, unemployed street people like the ones who still live with their mother when there 40 and hang out at the drop center do for money now?

onceinawhile 8 years, 7 months ago

"Tate said the 11-year-old center accounts for only 2 percent of the approximately 150,000 annual donations."

It accounts for 2 percent of all donations in the country? State? Because it's if the former, that's a lot. If it's the latter, that doesn't sound like much — but there's no context about whether this is high or low for an average blood center. (It can only be assumed that it's low, because the center is closing, but still, it doesn't really say...)

average 8 years, 7 months ago

@igby -

Community Blood Center (i.e., whole blood, red cells, platelets... as opposed to the paying plasma center) has never given a red cent to anyone for their blood and was visited by nothing but high-minded volunteers. Sorry to hear you weren't one.

Jeff Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

This makes me sad. I was a regular donater there of blood and platelets and I had an appointment this Wednesday for platelet donation when I got the call that they closed. I was really surprised because while they were never packed when I was there, they seemed to do a fairly steady business. I only lived a few blocks away so it was very convenient. I hope the folks who worked there were able to find other jobs.

Ernest Barteldes 8 years, 7 months ago

Great. Rape victims have to go to Topeka, and so do blood donors. Does this make any sense?

svenway_park 8 years, 7 months ago

I never understood why this group was in town and not the American Red Cross.... can anyone explain why/or the difference?

Maybe the answer is we are too small of a market to have a fulltime office from either at all?

Don Varnau 8 years, 7 months ago

Sad news, indeed. I'll miss the staff- professional and friendly. Thanks for making my donations so easy and pleasant.

Bassetlover 8 years, 7 months ago

American Red Cross does have a local chapter that serves our county and their administrative office is over in the United Way building. However, they do not have a blood draw center where donors can come in and donate blood any day of the week, though I think back in the day this did exist. The Douglas County Red Cross does sponsor community blood drives here in town about every other month, which is the most you can donate blood anyway. So any Community Blood Center donors still have the opportunity to donate on a regular basis. They can just do it through one of the Red Cross drives....or another one in town if that is their choice.

Heather Abernathy 8 years, 7 months ago

This is really sad. I would donate platelets every month. I don't have a lot of money and donating my blood/platelets was the one way that I felt like I was giving back.

average 8 years, 7 months ago

For svenway -

Many larger areas founded regional blood centers before the Red Cross started founding blood banks. Including Community Blood Center of Kansas City (in 1958). The Red Cross organized chapters with blood clinics in areas that hadn't already established a center, including the Central Plains chapter, based in Wichita, who occasionally conducts drives in Lawrence. Lawrence, Topeka, and KC hospitals get their blood almost exclusively from Community Blood Center, but the Red Cross and the independent centers do trade components regularly to avoid waste and critical shortages.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 7 months ago

My hubby and I are both regular donors. We were disappointed when the Saturday times closed. Now we are completely saddened. He did double platelets and I gave whole blood the first chances we could. I don't mind the mobile route (but I will miss the staff there so much - they were awesome!), but can he do the platelets in a mobile drive?

Totally bummed.

wagenseil 8 years, 7 months ago

I contributed 57 times there (and, by the way, consider myself a liberal...) and was ready to do so again next week, so this news was quite a surprise. I can't remember any time when there wasn't at least one other person donating, and usually it seemed like a steady stream. Joe's, Paradise... another Lawrence institution down the tubes...

domino 8 years, 6 months ago

Isabelle - glad to see you being so selfless about giving blood. Most places, if you ask them, will remove you from their calling list. Heaven forbid you be put out with a phone call that could end up saving a life. Hope you never have to be on the receiving end of blood donation and find out there is none because of people like you who got their panties in a twist!

wagenseil 8 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately, for quite a while they did in fact employ a very aggressive telemarketing outfit based in Atlanta that made those calls, and it was not easy to get off the list (it took me multiple tries). I think they stopped working with them about two years ago, but that group did them no favors, and may have alienated a lot of people in the area. I kept donating, but it was despite, rather than because of, the telemarketers.

Jodi_B 8 years, 6 months ago


They can't take platelets at a mobile drive. Your hubby would have to go to Topeka, Olathe or OP to do so. Super inconvenient.

Bassetlover 8 years, 6 months ago

Toe - There you go once again on the United Way Is Evil bandwagon. At least you're consistent. I'm certain their donors are pretty darn happy they lease from United Way because the rent is probably super cheap and that creates less overhead and more efficiency. Are you willing and able to donate some office space to them for free?!?!!? So no one should support ECKAN, Women's Transitional Care Services, or Success by Six because they also pay rent to United Way??? Really??????

colicole81 8 years, 6 months ago

I was one of the 7 (not 4 as stated in the news video) employees that worked at CBC. I had worked there for almost 8 years! I truely loved providing such a vital service to the community as well as getting to know all of the generous donors! Unfortunatly, three employees,including myself, were let go with absolutely no notice. The four that remained were given the option to transfer. Two of which had just recently been hired in Lawrence! I have never heard of any reputable business closing down without even warning the employees! It was heartbreaking! I will miss each and every donor, particularly the "regulars".
On another note, CBC has always labeled Lawrence as a "unique bedroom" community that is unwilling to give. Being from Lawrence I know that is far from the truth. I hope Lawrencians will continue to give. I also hope that another organization will come in and fill the void CBC has left. Hopefully next time we donate it will be with an organization that values it's donors as well as it's very dedicated employees! Sincerely, you know who :))

sar011704 8 years, 6 months ago

I was a loyal employee for 10 years at the Lawrence center, ending in 2008. I am very sorry for "our" loyal and dedicated regular donors and for the 3 dedicated and loyal employees that were let go prior to learning this sad, sad news.

kaymcbee 8 years, 6 months ago

To - svenway_park The difference between the American Red Cross (ARC) and the Community Blood Center (CBC) is that the ARC collects blood for the entire country and it goes catastrophes all across America. The blood the ARC collects at mobile blood drives (ie: businesses, churches, etc) goes to St. Louis, Missouri to be distributed across the United States.

The blood that the Community Blood Center (CBC) collects stays right here in our local communities to serve the people who live here. They supply 99% of all blood products for over 70 hospitals in 70 counties in Kansas and Missouri. From Jeff City, to St. Joe, to Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka. CBC has 8 other locations you can donate blood for people who live in these communities for accidents, operations, chemotherapy etc, etc, etc.

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