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Kentucky Blood Center: from Pancake House to eight donor centers in six cities

The Kentucky Blood Center opened in the old Pancake House restaurant in Lexington on May 21, 1968,
Kentucky Blood Center
The Kentucky Blood Center opened in the old Pancake House restaurant in Lexington on May 21, 1968,

The Kentucky Blood Center turned 55 Sunday. The KBC opened in the basement of the Pancake House restaurant on South Limestone Street on May 21st, 1968. Eric Lindsey is the blood center’s director of media and branding. He said it was founded by the Kentucky Medical Society to centralize the blood supply in central Kentucky.

“You know, we went from this, you know, operating out of a Pancake House on South Limestone, and now having eight donor centers spread across six cities, serving more than 70 hospitals and doing more than 2000 Mobile drives a year.”

Lindsey said he doesn’t know if, considering its first site, the KBC offered pancakes to donors, instead of cookies.

“We’re always trying to figure out ways that incentivize donors to come in, I can tell you, especially in my younger years, if someone had said, ‘Hey, come have a short stack if you donate blood,’ that might have brought me in.”

Post-donation refreshments aside, Lindsey said the average blood donation saves up to three lives. The Kentucky Blood Center’s “Save Our Summer” blood donation campaign began last week.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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