GREEN BAY, Wis. (Nov. 21, 2019) — Be the lifeline patients need. Give something that means something – donate blood and help ensure patients have the blood products they need. The American Red Cross is partnering with WLUK FOX 11, 105.7 WAPL, 95.9 KISS FM, 104.3 WKZG to sponsor the Green Bay Winter Holiday Blood Drive Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ashwaubenon Community Center, 900 Anderson Drive, in Ashwaubenon and Dec. 24, from 7 a.m. to noon at St. John the Baptist School, 2561 Glendale Ave., in Green Bay.
In May 2017, Forest VandenLangenberg, a typical fifth grade, eleven-year-old boy attending McAuliffe Elementary School, loved being outside. Although he felt perfectly fine, Forest was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia which is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
Right from the beginning, the doctors shared with the family some key information, “We are going to work very hard to cure your child, this is a curable cancer, and intensive chemotherapy treatments will be required.” When the family inquired about a blood transfusion his doctor said, “The question is not if he will need a transfusion, it is how many transfusions will he need to fight his battle with cancer”.
During this time, Forest required 26 blood transfusions and 11 platelet transfusions to keep him alive. The good news is the treatment plan is working, and Forest no longer has any signs of cancer. However, to ensure that the leukemia does not return, treatments must continue. In April 2018, Forest began his final phase of treatment and has just under a year to go.
“We have an immense appreciation for blood and platelet donors,” said Jenny VandenLangenberg, Forest’s mother. “We have learned to appreciate all the people that have surrounded us with love and support especially all of the blood and platelet donors who selflessly give their time and blood products to save the lives of those they don’t even know. “
This blood drive comes as the Red Cross faces a critical need for all blood types, especially types O negative and positive. Blood and platelet donors are urged to give now to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients this winter. The Red Cross is thanking those who come to give Dec. 19, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020, with an exclusive long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last.
“We would never be able to host such successful drives without the incredible support of the community,” said Laura McGuire, external Communications manager for the Red Cross 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.”
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.
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, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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, 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.