A summer blood shortage has led to an emergency call for blood donors, and the American Red Cross is teaming up with CBS North Carolina and iHeartRadio to address the need.
Donors can help save lives at the Rock & Roll Up Your Sleeve blood drive on Tuesday, Aug. 30 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Crabtree Valley Mall, 4325 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh. The blood drive will be located on the lower level below the food court.
All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last, and a $5 Amazon gift card code, in addition to the chance to win door prizes.
Blood donors are needed to help patients like five-month-old Camden Minnick, who was born six weeks early in an emergency C-section. He needed a blood transfusion right away.
“I kissed him on the cheek and then they whisked him away for a blood transfusion,” said his mother, Carrie Minnick, of Apex. “His first act in life was to receive blood.”
Camden was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). With HLH, if the immune system gets turned on, it leads to uncontrolled inflammation causing damage to vital organs. Although considered rare, the number of cases diagnosed increases as physicians’ awareness increases. Camden has received multiple platelet and blood transfusions—sometimes several a day—while awaiting a bone marrow transplant. He received his transplant July 19 at UNC Children’s, but he will need to be closely monitored for one year to ensure his recovery.
Carrie and Charlie Minnick are grateful for blood, platelet, and bone marrow donors for playing a lifesaving role in their son’s life. The experience has changed the way Carrie thinks about donation.
“You’re literally saving someone’s life. I didn’t realize that until my son's life became dependent on donors," she said.
Representatives from Be The Match will be at the blood drive to raise awareness on the importance of bone marrow donors for patients in need. For thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia or other diseases like sickle cell anemia, a marrow transplant is their only hope for life. Patients need a matching tissue type which is inherited and is different from a blood type match. These patients often rely on lifesaving blood donations while waiting for a marrow donor match. Those ages 18 to 44 can register to be added to the Be The Match marrow registry by completing a cheek swab.
The Rock & Roll Up Your Sleeve blood drive comes during the difficult summer months, a time when many regular donors postpone giving blood due to vacation plans and summer activities. Although many people have answered the Red Cross’ call for donations, the already constrained blood supply has yet to recover, while patient need for blood products has remained steady. Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.
As a result of the decrease in blood donations, the Red Cross now has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to keep a five-day supply on hand at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that would require significant volumes of donated blood products.
“In an emergency, it’s the blood donations already on the shelves that make a difference,” said Barry Porter, Red Cross CEO for the Eastern North Carolina Region. “Donations are urgently needed now to help save lives. If you’ve been thinking about giving blood, now is the time to do it to prepare for the emergencies that are yet to happen in someone’s life.”
Donors are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment for the blood drive by visiting redcrossblood.org and entering sponsor code “Crabtree,” calling 1-800-RED CROSS or downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App. Walk-ins are also welcome.
The blood drive is sponsored by CBS North Carolina, 95X, WRDU Classic Rock 100.7, G105, Crabtree Valley Mall, Summit Hospitality Group and Be the Match.
Items and offers are nontransferable and are not redeemable for cash. Available while supplies last.
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.
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.