MADISON, Wis. (June 21, 2021) — Join the American Red Cross and Audacy Madison at the 21st annual Beach Days Blood Drive Friday, July 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel, 706 John Nolen Drive. Appointments are encouraged, walk-ins taken as space permits.
The ballroom of the Sheraton will be transformed into a beach friendly environment where eligible blood donors can donate lifesaving blood. All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross Hat, a $15 Visa gift card (via email) and picnic style food, courtesy of Suburban Propane, while supplies last.
Right now, the Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise – and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to prevent further impact to patients.
As more people schedule their vaccination appointments and begin to gear up for a return to some of their favorite summer activities, the Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood or platelets for patients in need. While Americans begin to resume normal seasonal activities, the need for lifesaving blood transfusions never takes a break. It’s critical to have blood ready to go when every second counts.
With more and more individuals receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, in most cases, vaccinated individuals can donate blood and platelets. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they receive is important in determining blood donation eligibility.
“Volunteer donors are the unsung heroes for patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions,” said Kyle Kriegl, Executive Director for the Southwest Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross. “If you are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give, please schedule an appointment to give now. You never know when you or a loved one will be the one in need. I urge anyone who is able to donate to take an hour out of their day and give back.”
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.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
Blood drive safety
The Red Cross has updated its pandemic safety protocols in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fully vaccinated individuals, including staff and donors, no longer need to wear masks or socially distance. Unvaccinated individuals continue to be required to wear masks and socially distance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, schedule online, call 1-800-RED CROSS 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.