As many people celebrate Valentine’s Day, the American Red Cross encourages eligible blood and platelet donors to give the ultimate gift of love – the gift of life. This winter, consider making a date with a loved one to roll up a sleeve and donate blood to help patients in need.
THE COUPLE WHO DONATES TOGETHER Jim and Linda Parker’s shared commitment to helping others led to a personal project to donate blood or platelets in all 50 states between 2004 and 2008.
“Donating for us has truly been a labor of love, both between us and for those in need,” said Linda.
Even after achieving their cross-country goal, the couple still drives about 100 miles round trip to keep up regular donations in Wichita, Kan. Whether donating at the same time or on separate dates, Jim and Linda can be found side-by-side, supporting each other. Together, they have given over 100 gallons.
“Our hope is to set an example that can be used to encourage more people to begin donating blood or platelets,” said the Parkers. “We believe that donating should be part of everyone’s life routine.”
SCHEDULE A DATE TO DONATE Already this season, we have seen winter weather affect donations, but hospital patients still need transfusions of blood and platelets. Each day, the Red Cross needs to collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.
Whole blood can be safely donated every 56 days. 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. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Platelet donors can roll up a sleeve every seven days, up to 24 times year. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation. It’s important that eligible platelet donors give as often as possible to help ensure this potentially lifesaving blood product is available for patients whenever and wherever needed.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.