JOLIET, Ill. (June 27, 2018) — Blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, and more donations are needed now to replenish the blood supply.
The American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley Board of Directors invites the community to give at the Blood Drive on Route 66, Thursday, July 26, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the historic Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet, in the Esplanade and Rotunda rooms.
All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross blanket, a free Rialto Summer Movie Series Pass, and a special Rialto Square Theatre Show Presale Pass, all while supplies last. Additionally, all presenting donors will be entered to win a $100 dining credit for Harrah’s Buffet or Steakhouse and a one-night hotel stay.
“Last summer we were thrilled that this blood drive collected 80 lifesaving donations and a majority of those donations came from first time donors,” said Matt Pitcher, donor recruitment district manager with the Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region. “Our volunteers and staff are patience, experienced and professional at coaching new donors through the donation process. Blood donations of all types are needed and acquiring new donors helps to keep the blood supply at stable levels.”
Donating blood is a simple process and takes about an hour. To help reduce the fear of the unknown for new donors, here are six helpful tips to know before donating blood:
1. Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet.
2. Hydrate – drink an extra 16 oz. of liquid before and after your donation.
3. Have a healthy meal before your donation- avoid foods high in fat just prior to donation.
4. Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
5. Complete your Rapid Pass. redcrossblood.org/RapidPass
6. Remember to bring your ID!
Afraid of needles? You are not alone. Many people share that fear but find that they can still give blood. What most say is that the slight initial pinch pales in comparison to the feeling of accomplishment they get at the end of a successful donation.
“During the summer, the American Red Cross experiences a drastic decline in new donors, and current donors often delay giving due to warm-weather activities and vacation plans,” said Ken Cozzi, executive director with the Red Cross. “We appreciate the Rialto Square Theatre and community members for their support in getting this message out and encouraging people to come out to the Rialto Theater and donate.”
Donated blood may be used to help accident victims, surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. There is no substitute for donated blood products. Each day, the Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.
While all blood types are needed, 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.
Those who come to give blood now through Sept. 3 will receive an exclusive Cedar Fair ticket offer that helps support the Red Cross. Donors can go to RedCrossBlood.org/CedarFair to purchase tickets at a discount off the gate admission price. For each ticket purchased through the website, Cedar Fair will donate $2 to the Red Cross to support its humanitarian mission.
Tickets must be purchased by Sept. 3, 2018, and are valid through the 2018 season. (Season dates vary by park.) Restrictions such as blackout dates and other exclusions may apply.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: Route66 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 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, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent 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.