EAST PEORIA, Ill. (May 15, 2020) — Join the American Red Cross for the 5th annual Super Hero Summer Blood Drive Wednesday, June 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn and Suites, 101 Holiday St., in East Peoria.
April Rathbun knows firsthand the importance of blood donations and has already made her appointment to donate blood at the Super Hero Summer Blood Drive.
In Sept. 2017, Karly, April’s daughter, an energetic 11-year- old was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Having gone through intense cancer treatments, Karly received many blood and platelet transfusions. Some days Karly needed two transfusions in one day and a few days later she would require more.
“If you have ever watched a child fight cancer you know when they need blood,” said April. “They become pale and have no energy. It’s like the life has been sucked out of them. When they receive blood it’s an instant change. It’s amazing!”
Since then, Karly continues to undergo treatment with a smile on her face and is looking forward to the days when she can say she beat cancer.
“I want to help other people and when I saw how hard of a time the staff was having finding units of blood for children, I knew something had to be done,” said April. “Those kids depend on generous donations of others to help save their lives. If I can help make it a little bit easier to find blood products, I’m all for it. I want to be able to continue to give this gift to others!”
This drive comes as the Red Cross encourages healthy individuals to schedule and keep blood donation appointments in the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply for patients throughout this coronavirus pandemic. All donors are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Blood donation is essential to ensuring the health of the community. As experts have emphasized, there is no certain end date in this fight against coronavirus, and the Red Cross needs the help of blood donors to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come. Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face masks for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of Red Cross donors, employees and volunteers.
“During the summer, the Red Cross experiences a drastic decline in new donors and current donors often delay giving due to warm-weather activities and vacation plans, but the need for blood remains constant,” said Caleb Liggin, donor recruitment account manager with the Red Cross.
All presenting donors will receive a $15 Visa card (via email) courtesy of Suburban Propane and a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
“Volunteer donors are the unsung heroes for patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions,” said Ellen Mickels, donor recruitment district manager for the Red Cross Illinois Blood Services Region. “If you are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give, please schedule an appointment to give now. “You just never know when you or a loved one will be the one in need. I urge anyone who is able to donate to take an hour out of their day and give back.”
Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 13,000 blood and more than 2,600 platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide.
Blood donors of all types are needed. There is no substitute for donated blood products.
Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.
How to donate blood
Simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device 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 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 and platelet 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.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports 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 perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.