Rockford to boost holiday blood supply

Rockford will host a community blood drive for the American Red Cross from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Our Father’s Lutheran Church, 3903 Gilbert Ave. S.E.

For appointments or information, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org. Enter Sponsor code 0174755.

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 (16 with parental consent in some 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.

Every day, patients across the nation rely on blood donated through the American Red Cross. Nearly five million patients need blood transfusions every year.

“Accident victims can require up to 100 pints of blood, but they aren’t the only people who rely on blood transfusions,” said Geoff Kaufmann, CEO of the Red Cross North Central Blood Services Region. “The blood you donate through the Red Cross can also help cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, premature babies and many others.”

The blood supply is particularly vulnerable during the holiday season because donors travel and spend time with family and friends and might forget to schedule donation appointments. Because red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days, it is vital for those eligible to give blood regularly, Kaufmann said.

“Thanks to an outpouring of support from the public following Superstorm Sandy, the American Red Cross blood supply is currently sufficient to meet patient needs,” he said. “Although the blood supply has been replenished, the need for blood is constant and the Red Cross encourages donations year-round.”

Sandy forced the cancellation of almost 380 Red Cross blood drives in 13 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a shortfall of more than 12,800 units of blood and platelets. The Red Cross must hold about 600 blood drives each day across the U.S. to meet patient needs.

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