ROCKFORD, Ill. — The American Red Cross is joining family and friends to host a blood drive in honor of Brenda Hill, Tuesday, June 30 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Red Cross of Northwest Illinois, 727 N. Church St., in Rockford. Appointments are strongly encouraged to abide with social distancing guidelines.
In January 2017, Brenda was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis. Cardiac amyloidosis, also known as stiff heart syndrome, occurs when protein deposits collect in the heart muscle affecting the way the way electrical signals move through the heart.
After being misdiagnosed, Brenda was hospitalized and went into cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated twice. Brenda’s heart condition required many transfusions and chemotherapy. Her fight to win the battle against her heart condition would not be possible without the generosity of volunteer blood donors.
“I think anyone who is healthy enough to donate should, but it would be nice for people to know how easy, safe, and selfless the process is,” said Trent Emory, Brenda’s son. “It is an act of true human solidarity.”
Brenda’s struggle to get back to normal life has been one of the most courageous and inspirational undertakings her daughter has ever witnessed. Brenda now volunteers at two local organizations, and she’s been speaking to medical schools and educating them on the importance of early diagnosis on amyloidosis. Brenda also donated blood on a regular basis before her illness.
This drive comes as the Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donations to prevent another blood shortage as hospitals resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were temporarily paused earlier this spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to Amazon, all those who come to give June 1-30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
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.
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Janet Jarvis, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross. “We take for granted that blood will be at the hospital when we need it, but it can only come from generous volunteer donors. Giving blood in Brenda’s name is a wonderful way to honor this incredible lady and potentially help others with this condition.”
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.