Normal, Illinois – The national blood inventory hasn’t been this low in the fall, in at least six years. This creates a challenging situation for blood banks to properly supply health systems with enough blood to serve patients in critical need. Blood donations are needed now to end the emergency blood and platelet shortage.
The Red Cross, Carle BroMenn Medical Center and Carle Eureka Hospital are partnering to ask community members of all blood types – especially type O – to donate blood at the Bloomington or Peoria Red Cross Blood Donation Centers, or at their nearest blood drive.
“No family should have to worry if there will be an essential resource like blood at the hospital for them or a family member experiencing an accident or medical emergency,” Tim Bassett, vice president of operations at Carle BroMenn Medical Center and Carle Eureka Hospital said. “We have about half the blood supply that we typically keep ready for emergencies.”
Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
“We are distributing blood donations faster than they are coming in and blood cannot be manufactured,” said Lyn Hruska, executive director of the American Red Cross Serving Central Illinois. “It’s only the generosity of donors who roll up their sleeves that make sure patients get the lifesaving blood they need.”
The Red Cross needs to collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over the next month to overcome the current shortage and meet the needs of patients in hospitals across the country. This decrease in donor turnout is particularly alarming, because fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds from summer blood shortages and blood donations increase after the seasonal drop-off.
“I didn’t begin donating blood until 2017 when I became involved with the American Red Cross.”
Donors are asked to make an appointment
All those who come to donate in October will receive a link by email to claim a free Zaxby’s® Signature Sandwich reward or get a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.* Plus, all those who come to give Oct. 11-31 will receive a bonus $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.**
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and 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.
Save time during donation
Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App. To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in.
Who can donate
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 must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families.
The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
**Terms and conditions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Zaxbys.