SULLIVAN, Ill. (Aug. 15, 2018) — The community is invited to give blood in honor of River Helmuth at a special American Red Cross blood drive held in her name Saturday, Sept. 15, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sullivan American Legion, 8 E. Strain St., in Sullivan.
River is a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler born with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defected called Balanced Complete AV Canal defect, also known as CAVC. CAVC is a large hole in center of the heart affecting all four chambers where they would normally be divided. A CAVC allows blood to mix and the chambers and valves to not properly route the blood to each station for circulation. River has undergone two heart surgeries resulting in the need for donated blood which helped make her heart surgeries possible.
“We are calling all our family, friends, the community and anyone who loves to make a difference to come out and see us and donate blood,” said Stephanie Helmuth, River’s mother.
“River would not be able to recover from her surgeries and would not be with us today without lifesaving transfusions.”
This blood drive comes as the Red Cross faces an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now. Blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in. More donations are immediately needed to help replenish the blood supply. In thanks, all those who come to donate blood or platelets July 30 through Aug. 30, 2018, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Kelly Kaufman, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross. “We take for granted that blood will be there at the hospital when we need it, but it can only come from generous volunteer donors. Giving blood in River’s name is a wonderful way to honor this sweet girl and potentially help others with her condition.”
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 more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals nationwide.
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 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.