Personal experience prompts Rapid City man to organize “Drops of Life” blood drive, now in its 8th year

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Many locals spent their Good Friday doing something good.

Vitalant hosted their 8th annual Drops of Life blood drive at Uptown Rapid. The event coordinator, Joe Burmeister, started the drive to raise awareness of the ongoing need for blood. Officials say the need for blood has improved slightly, from “critical” to “urgent,” but it’s always there.

Right now, the greatest need is for AB plasma, and they’re hoping that the holiday weekend will help curb the need.

“This week, a lot of people are off – with students being on spring break and out doing holiday travel – but clearly there are still patients in the hospital using those units of blood,” says Tori Robbins, Vitalant’s communications manager. “Joe runs his drive every single year around this time to help make sure we have those units on the shelves that those patients need.”

That time off helps keep the blood drive busy.

Burmeister says they had 91 appointments all filled, with only two cancellations and plenty of walk-ins.

“To me, it’s a very tangible and easy way to give back to the community,” Burmeister says. “There’s a direct knowing that you’re sacrificing your time – and maybe a little bit of a pinprick in your arm – and you’re doing something to save somebody else’s life.”

He says his desire to coordinate the “Drops of Life” drive comes from a lifetime of donating, and seeing people close to him benefit from transfusions.

Additionally, if you donate now, Vitalant will test your blood for COVID-19 antibodies, which can be used to make convalescent plasma to treat COVID patients.

CLICK HERE for more information on how to donate through Vitalant.

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