CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Dec. 1, 2020) — Give something that means something – donate blood and help ensure patients have the blood products they need. Join the American Red Cross for the 14th annual Cedar Rapids Holiday Blood Drive Dec. 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel, 1200 Collins Road NE, in Cedar Rapids.
This blood drive comes as the Red Cross faces an essential need for blood products and a critical need for convalescent plasma. Appointments are strongly encouraged to abide with social distancing guidelines.
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.
A special thanks to KXEL News Talk 1540, KFMW 108 the Rock, and KOKZ 105.7 Classic Hits Radio for helping to promote this lifesaving event.
The community is invited to give the perfect gift and participate in a long-standing tradition of helping to save patients’ lives. Since the inception of the Cedar Rapids Holiday Blood Drive, area donors have provided nearly 900 donations.
“We would never be able to host such a successful drive without the incredible support of the community,” said Judi Faas, donor recruitment account 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.
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.