A resident of Lexington who enjoys rock climbing, exercising and reading, Michael is a husband and father to a 19-month-old and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He also serves on the board of the J.O. Blanton House, is a real estate investor and creator of www.firefighterhub.com. After being diagnosed with COVID-19 in March and becoming the first career firefighter in Kentucky to contract it, Michael learned first-hand how important and simple donating blood and plasma can be in helping to save lives during the pandemic.
“It was extremely easy,” said Michael. “I was in and out in two hours. I've listened to podcasts both times I've donated [plasma], which is a great dual use of time.”
The need for blood doesn’t stop for holidays. Between Christmas and New Year’s, more than 1 million blood transfusions will be given in the United States. Donations of all blood types are needed at the 43rd annual Holiday Hero Donorama to ensure hospital shelves remain stocked to meet patient blood needs. Donations often decline between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day when busy holiday schedules can cause some donors to be less available to give. However, there is no substitute for donated blood.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter sponsor code: HERO 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
As COVID-19 hospitalizations increase, hospital demand for convalescent plasma and the need for eligible blood donors are growing. COVID-19 convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation given by those who've recovered from this coronavirus. Learn more about convalescent plasma and sign up to give at an American Red Cross Blood Donation Center by visiting: RedCrossBlood.org/Plasma4COVID.
The Red Cross is testing blood donations made at the Holiday Hero Donorama for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. 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.
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.