Tolli Willhite, as she has done for three decades, rolled up her sleeve Friday morning to donate a pint of blood. “There’s a national blood shortage, particularly in our region,” she said. “And I carry a somewhat rare blood type, so I think it’s my responsibility to be here.” Willhite, who has type A negative blood, is a community outreach coordinator at Kootenai Health and serves on its blood drive committee. The hospital held an employee blood drive Friday. “I guess I am blown away by the capacity of my coworkers to continuously give up themselves to this community,” she said. “And I’m just proud to be a part of that.” The American Red Cross recently announced it is facing a national crisis — its worst blood shortage in over a decade. “Doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available,” ARC said in a release. “Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments.” ARC said the crisis is being caused by a 10% overall blood donation decline since March 2020; 62% drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic.


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