Cedar Falls, Iowa (Dec.11, 2018) — To help ensure patients continue to receive the blood products they need, the American Red Cross is hosting the Cedar Valley Blood Drive Dec. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 8201 Dakota St., in Cedar Falls. Attendees can help save lives, enjoy refreshments and receive a Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last. This blood drive comes as the Red Cross has an urgent need for all blood products.
Delane Thede from Reinbeck, IA, loves her family and knows the importance of giving blood. She recently celebrated her 90th birthday and still consistently gives blood, but it’s what’s flowing in her veins that makes her special.
Thede has donated blood since the 1950’s and has given more than eight gallons. Her blood type is O negative with CMV negative antibodies. Only a small number of donors can meet this very specific medical need.
CMV, also known as Cytomegalovirus is a flu-like virus that most adults are exposed to at some point in their lives. Regular testing is conducted on blood donations to check for CMV antibodies. The CMV virus is present in up to 85 percent of adults by age 40 making CMV negative status a big deal.
Babies needing transfusions as part of their medical care should only receive blood from donors who have not been exposed to CMV. Thanks to donors like Thede, the Red Cross can send pediatric specific blood products to hospitals throughout the country every day.
“It’s the little things in life that we can do to make a big difference and I am so happy I can help,” said Thede. “Knowing that I am helping someone is such a good feeling, and everyone who can donate should donate to help others.”
There is not an upper age limit for blood donations. If you are healthy with no restrictions or limitations to your activities and you meet the Red Cross eligibility requirements you are able to give blood. Thede hopes to continue donating blood as long as she can.
The winter months can be among the most challenging times of year for the Red Cross to collect enough blood donations. Many donors are busy with holiday activities, and inclement weather can force the cancellation of blood drives. Additionally, some donors become temporarily ineligible because of seasonal illnesses.
The community is invited to give more life and donate blood this holiday season. Since the inception of the Cedar Valley Holiday Blood Drive, area donors have provided more than 1,000 donations. A special thanks to NRG Radio for helping to promote this lifesaving event.
“The Red Cross is grateful to the Cedar Valley community for supporting patients by donating lifesaving blood,” said Judi Faas, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region. “Year after year generous donors roll up a sleeve during this busy holiday season and give the gift of life. Their efforts are very much appreciated.”
Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, and platelet donors are urgently needed to give now to avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients. Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to stop the shortage from continuing throughout winter.
How to donate blood
Simply download the 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.