GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) — The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to make a lifesaving commitment to donate blood to help ensure a sufficient blood supply in the new year, beginning in January with National Blood Donor Month.
Britton Lund made her first blood donation as a high school student. Though it was easy and she knew her type O negative blood was in high demand, she only gave sporadically over the next 10 years. Then, her sister was diagnosed with brain cancer, motivating Lund to become a regular donor. “I will continue to give until they tell me I can’t anymore,” she said. “It is a quick, easy way to make a difference.”
National Blood Donor Month highlights the importance of volunteer blood and platelet donors like Lund and their impact on patient healthcare. National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs. Severe winter weather may result in canceled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can cause donors to be temporarily unable to give.
Blood donors of all types are needed to maintain a sufficient supply. Eligible donors with types O, B negative and A negative blood are encouraged to donate double red cells where available. During a double red cell donation, two units of red cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
1/19/2016: 12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Saugatuck Brewing Company, 2948 Blue Star Memorial Highway
1/19/2016: 1 p.m. – 6:45 p.m., Faith United Reformed Church, 8270 120th Avenue
1/20/2016: 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Fifth Third Bank, 36 E. 8th Street
1/21/2016: 1 p.m. – 6:45 p.m., Intersection Ministries, 945 136th Avenue
1/22/2016: 12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Aquinas College, 157 Woodward Ave
1/25/2016: 12:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m., Coopersville United Methodist Church, 105 N. 68th Avenue
1/27/2016: 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Davenport University, 6191 Kraft Ave
1/29/2016: 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Holland Hospital, 602 Michigan Avenue
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. 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.
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.