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Group of veterans are now cleared to donate blood for first time in decades

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 19:24:10-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — Donating blood is a great way to give back to the community and many veterans jump at the chance to do just that but, a large group of them haven’t been able to for decades, until now.

Anyone serving on a military base in Europe between 1980 and 1996 has been told for years that they can’t donate blood due to an outbreak of mad cow disease from beef they might have eaten at the time.

”We assumed that mad cow disease could be passed through this beef that was from the U.K, then many military personnel, once they came back to the U.S, were deferred from blood donation,” said Linda Goelzer, Director of Public Relations, Carter BloodCare.

The news of not being able to donate blood anymore was something Army veteran Lynn Acosta wasn’t happy about.

”I was very disappointed that I couldn’t help people. Especially when they were making all the announcements on the news that they were suffering from a blood shortage in the area and here I am, perfectly healthy and I can’t even go down and donate a pint of blood,” said Lynn Acosta, a US Army Veteran.

It is a sense of duty to give back to the community that veterans feel and a sentiment that Carter Bloodcare is all too familiar with.

"This is something we’ve heard for years in the blood industry. This is something they want to do. They want to continue being helpful, especially in a way that means, helping save lives,” said Goelzer.

Now duty stations in countries like Germany, where Acosta severed for 3-years, are no longer on the deferment list she couldn’t be more excited.

”I felt relieved that now I can donate every 8-weeks if I want to.” said Acosta.

If you were deferred by Carter BloodCare in the past you will need to re-file paperwork with them to donate but, that’s not the case for everyone.

”If you never attempted to donate with us, you just heard, hey you won’t be able to, so you didn’t bother, you're welcome to come give right now.” said Goelzer.

There is still a massive shortage of blood donations in Central Texas. If you would like to donate but you think you might not be able to, you can find out through Carter BloodCare.