Blood and platelet donors are heroes who answer the call to roll up a sleeve and help ensure an adequate supply is available for patients in need. While donors may never meet the recipients of their generous gift, they should never doubt the impact that their donation has on those patients battling illness and injury, or how much it is appreciated.
JACQUELINE’S STORY Jacqueline Rogers of Billerica, MA, was born with a congenital heart disorder. At the age of eight, Jacqueline needed heart surgery, but there was a shortage of type O negative blood.
“As a parent you worry about things like your pipes freezing and your child not being warm. But, not having blood for my daughter was something I never thought I’d have to worry about,” said her mother Valerie Rodgers.
Thankfully, blood donors came through for Jacqueline and she had multiple successful surgeries. Today, she is healthy and thriving. This week, she will celebrate both the Valentine’s holiday and her twelfth birthday with close family and friends.
Jacqueline attends regular checkups and will need additional surgery in the future. But right now, this bright young lady is focused on a busy and fun sixth grade school year. She made the honor roll her first term and looks forward to playing Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz in a recital this spring. She enjoys chorus, gymnastics and dance.
Jacqueline shared a special drawing, complete with red hearts, to express her ongoing gratitude to blood donors. Her parents are also supportive of the Red Cross and host Red Cross blood drives in their daughter’s honor to help meet the needs of other patients.
BE A HERO THIS VALENTINE’S DAY Schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
February can be one of the most challenging times to collect blood and platelets, as drives are cancelled due to severe weather. Those who come to donate through February 26, 2017 are eligible to receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card via email for making blood and platelet donation a priority this winter.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood or platelets. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
POWER REDS AND PLATELETS NEEDED Eligible donors with types O, A negative and B negative blood are urged to make a Power Red donation, where available. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.
Learn more about the importance of type O negative blood.
Platelets are constantly in demand, and often needed by those who are extremely ill. Unlike whole blood, which can be safely donated every 56 days, platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, so it’s important that eligible platelet donors give as often as possible.
TEAM UP FOR A VIRTUAL DRIVE It only takes a few minutes to create a SleevesUp virtual blood drive online at redcrossblood.org/SleevesUp. Once a campaign is created, invite colleagues, friends and family to pledge their support by making an appointment to donate at a blood drive or donation center convenient for them. Those who are not eligible to give blood, do not have a Red Cross blood donation opportunity nearby or simply want to do more can support a SleevesUp campaign by making a financial donation.