By Dana Simmons, American Red Cross
January is National Blood Donor Month – a time to recognize the importance of giving blood and platelets while celebrating the lifesaving impact of those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need.
Shannon Thomas, a San Diego County resident, started National Blood Donor Month off by rolling up his sleeve and donating his type O positive blood to help patients in need. Shannon arrived at the American Red Cross Kearny Mesa Blood Donation Center, answered questions about his health history and then hopped in the blood donation chair for about 10 minutes.
“What stood out to me the most was how nice and courteous everyone on the Red Cross staff was and how happy they were about what they do. It really made the whole donation process easy,” Shannon said. “They gave me some snacks and drinks after the donation was over and a nice T-shirt.”
Shannon’s friend, who works for the Red Cross, encouraged him to donate blood for the first time, but it didn’t take much convincing. Shannon understands the importance of donating blood because he has many family and friends who passed away from cancer and he knows people who have received blood transfusions.
“It is a very simple process and the pride you feel after donating is a feeling that I have never felt before in my life,” Shannon said. “I recommend doing it not just for yourself but to help others who are in need.”
Thank you to individuals like Shannon who donate blood, platelets or plasma to help save lives across the country.
The Red Cross and the NFL are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle a national blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. As an extra thank-you from the Red Cross, those who come to donate will also be automatically entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl for more information.
Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). There is no blood donation waiting period for those who have received a flu shot or a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or booster, so long as they are symptom-free. Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. Additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – 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.