CHICAGO/INDIANA (Dec. 29, 2020)— ABC 7 and the American Red Cross urge the community to give the gift of life by donating blood at the 7th Annual ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive Wednesday, January 13, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Five, new convenient locations are opening their doors to give blood for this year’s event:
Appointments are strongly encouraged to abide with social distancing guidelines.
Patients like Amy Belluomini of Chicago know firsthand the lifesaving benefits of blood products. Belluomini, age 30, was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She received a stem cell transplant from her brother and required more than 40 blood transfusions throughout her follow-up treatment. “Without the Red Cross and its blood collection efforts, I wouldn’t be here,” said Belluomini.
The traditional decline in blood donations during the winter months come as the blood supply already faces challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. Required medical treatments and emergencies don’t pause for a widespread coronavirus outbreak.
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.
Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact. Donated blood may be used to help accident victims, surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. There is no substitute for donated blood products.
The Red Cross is extremely grateful to ABC 7 for being an amazing partner and for helping to keep the blood supply at stable levels. “We are proud to team up with American Red Cross on this life saving effort. Together with the gracious help of blood donors we have helped increased the number of blood donations collected every year,” said John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7.
This is no ordinary blood drive. In fact, it is the largest single day Red Cross blood drive in the area. To help save lives, the Red Cross and ABC 7 are partnering with iHeartMedia Chicago, Univision, Clear Channel Outdoor, Grainger, Jay & Lori Bergman and First Secure Bank and Gallagher to keep the hospital shelves stocked. It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives during emergencies.
“We are grateful to all our sponsors and donors who come out to donate blood during the ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive. Their generosity and selfless actions are lifesaving for thousands of patients,” said Celena Roldán, chief executive officer of the Illinois Red Cross. “Now more than ever and as we face this pandemic together, the Red Cross needs donors to roll up their sleeves to make sure blood is available to those who need it.”
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.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: ABC7Chicago 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 of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at RedCross.org/il/Chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.