MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. (Oct. 14, 2020) — The Boelkens family is inviting the community to donate blood in honor of John Boelkens at a special American Red Cross blood drive Friday, Nov. 6 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Mount Carroll Church of God, 816 S. Clay St., in Mount Carroll. Appointments are strongly encouraged to abide with social distancing guidelines.
In August 2020, Boelkens passed away at age 78. During his lifetime, he was a passionate blood donor donating over 110 pints of lifesaving blood. John was an active member of the Mt. Carroll community and was a past City Alderman along with being a member of the Community Development Corporation. He loved to volunteer wherever he could and regularly volunteered at Red Cross blood drives sponsored by the Church of God.
This is the first blood drive held in Boelkens’ memory and is being sponsored by the Savanna West Carroll High School FFA organization. “We invite all to donate blood, but especially families and friends from the Church of God, high school students and all eligible blood donors in the community” said, Mary Jane Boelkens, John’s widow. “We encourage you to donate blood on a consistent basis throughout the community as you never know when someone close to you might need blood.”
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.
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Janet Jarvis, 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 John’s name is a wonderful way to honor his memory and potentially help others.”
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.