MADISON, Wis. (Nov. 23, 2020) — During the hustle and bustle of this holiday season set aside just one hour and donate blood and help ensure patients have the blood products they need. The American Red Cross is inviting the community to the 35th annual Holiday Blood Drive Dec. 24, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, in Madison. Appointments are strongly encouraged. Walk-ins will be taken as space allows to abide with social distancing guidelines. Special thanks to media partners WKOW 27 News, Entercom Madison - Triple MMM, 94.9 WOLX and Mix 105.1 for helping to sponsor the blood drive.
The 35th annual Holiday Blood Drive is the largest one day blood drive in the Wisconsin Blood Services Region, with more than 600 community members rolling up a sleeve to help save lives each year.
The traditional slump in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s comes as the blood supply already faces challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. Required medical treatments and emergencies don’t pause for the holidays or a widespread coronavirus outbreak. Blood, platelet and plasma donors are urged to give now to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients.
To encourage donations this holiday season, those who come to donate blood, platelets or plasma with the Red Cross Dec. 18-Jan. 4 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Donors will also be treated to special snacks and refreshments and be entered to win great raffle prizes. Free parking will be available.
“We would never be able to host such a successful drive without the incredible support of the community,” said Laura McGuire, communications manager for the Red Cross Wisconsin Blood Services Region. “Year after year, the community steps up to the call for blood donations which go toward helping to save lives. We are grateful for those who respond to the constant need for blood donations at such a critical time of the year.”
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.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.