PITTSTON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — January is national blood donor month, a month when blood donations typically are low. Meeting the nation’s blood supply needs this month is proving to be even more challenging.

A sight that’s not quite as common these days as it used to be: a donor showing up at a blood center to give the gift of life. It’s the second time Jonathan Konschnik has donated his blood.

“Just figured they needed it. I have time to give it, so,” stated Konschnik.

The Mountain Top man became aware blood donations are down. It’s not uncommon to start a new year but now…

“This is probably the most challenging holiday season I’ve seen,” said Kathy Rowinski, Account Manager at Miller-Keystone Blood Center

Kathy Rowinski has worked for Miller-Keystone Blood Center for a decade. Miller-Keystone is a major blood supplier of 32 hospitals in Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey.

Miller-Keystone aims to collect enough donation to maintain a five to seven day reserve of blood, but lately that supply has been running day to day.

“The hospitals need their orders filled and we need our donors to make sure that we fill our orders,” said Rowinski.

“Actually, their inventory is thinner than ours,” stated Gustaaf de Ridder, MD, Ph.D., the System Director for Transfusion Services at Geisinger.

“If we have disasters like a multiple casualty trauma, kind of big traffic pileup and lots of bleeding, it’s difficult to resupply,” said Dr. de Ritter.

Geisinger receives its blood from Miller-Keystone and two other providers. Dr. Gustaaf de Ridder says Geisinger’s blood supply is healthy and that no procedures have been postponed for lack of blood, but that could change.

It’s more than just whole blood donations needed. Two chairs are reserved for platelet and plasma donors and the number of those donors is also down. Plasma donations are especially necessary for burn victims and cancer patients.

“Right now, we need all blood types, particularly if you’re O negative or O positive,” explained Rowinski.

“It’s really easy. That’s all I can say. You know, as long as you can get the time to get down here there’s not much to it,” described Konschnik.

Miller-Keystone is teaming up with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins to sign-up blood donors. Head to giveapint.org to learn more about that, and to schedule a blood donation.