NEWS 8 and Kyle Kraska are partnering with the American Red Cross, iHeart San Diego, and Jersey Mike’s Subs to host the 3rd annual Celebration of Heroes Blood Drive on Wednesday, February 10 and Thursday, February 11, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Pechanga Arena, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd.
For the third consecutive year, Kyle Kraska’s Celebration of Heroes Blood Drive will honor first responders and blood donors who help save lives every day while helping ensure hospital patients have the blood products needed.
Kraska nearly died six years ago after being shot six times as he was leaving for work. He was rushed to La Jolla’s Scripps Memorial Hospital where he was treated for numerous traumatic injuries including a perforated liver and a collapsed lung. Kraska coded twice on the operating table and required multiple transfusions of blood products. Days later, he woke up from a coma and with the help of doctors, nurses and blood donors was able to return home and to his life.
“Each Celebration of Heroes Blood Drive represents hope and healing for hospital patients in need of blood transfusions,” said Sean Mahoney, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross Southern California Region. “We are grateful for Kyle’s dedication to hosting blood drives and raising awareness about the importance of blood donations in our community. Over the past three years, through 13 Celebration of Heroes Blood Drives, more than 1,300 units of blood have been collected impacting thousands of lives.”
The blood collected at this special blood drive will help ensure that the 120 Southern California hospitals that the Red Cross serves – including 10 San Diego hospitals – have the blood products that patients rely on.
As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give will receive a voucher for a free Jersey Mike’s sub sandwich, and a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)
How to help
Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate this October by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device and use sponsor code News8Kyle.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
How to donate blood
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
Blood donors can 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.