Help Red Cross meet emergency need for blood donations during severe winter shortage
FAIRMONT, Minn. — The American Red Cross has a severe winter blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for blood donors. To help reverse this shortfall, the Fairmont community is invited to give at the upcoming three-day blood drive.
Blood donation is important to 73-year-old Sherburn resident Richard Zehms who started giving blood during his freshman year at Mankato State University. He donated regularly until joining the service where he served as a Marine medivac helicopter pilot in Vietnam. At that time, pilots were banned from giving or they would be grounded for 30 days.
When Zehms returned from overseas, he remained ineligible to donate due to being exposed to hepatitis and malaria. In 1991, he donated blood in advance of a hip replacement. After successfully recovering from surgery, Zehms again began to give blood as often as possible and wants to encourage others to do the same.
“I saw firsthand the need for blood to be readily available in the military,” said Zehms. “I realized then that a lot of blood is needed for emergency purposes. I would urge others to help out by donating blood because there is a constant need.”
Zehms has also experienced the need for blood in his immediate family. His youngest son was born with a condition requiring multiple surgeries and blood transfusions. “You never know when you or a family member will be the one in need,” he said. “Donating blood is an easy way to help ensure patients have it available when they need it most.”
Fairmont community blood drive
Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 1-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb 15, from noon-6 p.m.
Thursday, Feb 16, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Holiday Inn, 1201 Torgerson Drive
The Fairmont community is needed to give now to ensure that patients continue to receive the lifesaving treatments they need. Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.
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 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 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.