Patients in hospitals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations – including many fathers who mean the world to their children and families. The American Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to honor Father’s Day by rolling up a sleeve and donating a lifesaving gift to help those in need.
A DAUGHTER’S LOVE Susan Walling is a passionate supporter of blood donation. For about 13 years, she has coordinated employee blood drives at her workplace, 3M industries in Valley, NE. Walling’s inspiration is her beloved father, Eddie Prochaska, who in 2011 was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a disease of the bone marrow cells. Unable to receive a transplant, Prochaska depended on blood transfusions to live, receiving over 100 pints of blood. A longtime blood donor herself, Walling recruited family, coworkers and first-time donors.
“Many don’t realize the true meaning of giving the gift of life, sometimes it doesn’t hit home until you have someone suffering and needs that gift to survive,” said Walling. “There is nothing greater than giving the gift of life and knowing someone out there will receive another day, week, year to be with their families.”
Walling’s father passed away in February 2014, but she and her family remain grateful for the generous blood donations that helped prolong his life.
GIVE HOPE TO A FAMILY Walling shares this story with coworkers and friends in hopes that others will give.
“(H)e would have been gone much sooner but because of donors like you he was able to be with our family much longer, two almost three years longer, it was your blood donations that kept him with us for that time.”
Father’s Day is not easy, but her resolve to help patients in need remains strong with his memory.
“I really miss my Dad. Holidays are hard and will never be the same, but he will always be in my heart,” said Walling. “I will always continue to give knowing someone out there is wanting their family member here with them and if I can help make that happen that is what I will do.”
This June, the Red Cross urges eligible individuals to give a lifesaving gift to patients in need. Summer is a particularly challenging season. Blood and platelet donations often decline during the summer months when schools are out of session and regular donors are on vacation. 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.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY 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.