Critical blood shortage: Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin hosts telethon for much-needed donations

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Health officials say there is a dire shortage of blood and on Tuesday, Jan. 7, Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin held a telethon to increase much-needed donations. 

Back in July of 2016, Mallory Weist's life changed drastically after a serious car crash. 

"I broke my femur in half which is where I lost the majority of my blood. I also broke several other bones throughout my pelvis, my face, my ribs,” Weist said.

Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin telethon

As a result, Weist needed blood to save her life. 

Mallory Weist

"I did lose a lot of blood so blood was a very special thing and a precious gift I was given, said Weist. 

That gift encouraged Weist to participate in the Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin's telethon. Officials say there is a dire shortage, especially during the winter months and O positive and O negative are at crisis levels. 

"You never expect something like this to happen so something like coming in to the blood center to give one donation can save someone’s life,” Weist said.

Another volunteer answering calls to try and reach the center's goal of 1,000 appointments is Elodie Ontala, who needs several blood transfusions because she has sickle cell disease. 

"My treatment is to go into the Froedtert Infusion Clinic every five weeks and receive eight units of blood, so that allows me to just live a normal life," Ontala said. 

Ontala's message to anyone considering donating is simple: 

"Those who can should always help the ones who cannot," said Ontala. 

If you missed the telethon, you can still make an appointment to donate by calling 1-877-BE-A-HERO or CLICK HERE

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