CHICAGO — ABC 7 and the American Red Cross urge the community to give more life by donating blood at the sixth annual ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza in Chicago; The Drake Oak Brook Hotel, 2301 York Road in Oak Brook; The Vernon Hills Park District, 635 N. Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills and the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Indiana. While helping to save lives, participants will receive a free ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive T-shirt, while supplies last.
The winter months can be among the most challenging times of year for the American 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. The Red Cross appreciates ABC 7 and community members for their efforts to help save lives.
Patients like Marie Fuesel of Orland Park understand the need for blood. Marie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. She received 98 transfusions of blood and platelets during her treatment and lost all her hair within five days of starting chemotherapy. Since finishing treatment, she is working to start organizing blood drives in her community to help pay it forward for all the blood products she received.
Since the inception of The ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive, area donors have provided more than 2,500 donations. 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.
“The blood drive is such a great team effort and every year we have joined forces with the American Red Cross, blood donations have increased and lives have been saved,” said John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7. “That’s something that makes us all very proud.”
There is no substitute for donated blood products. The Red Cross must collect nearly 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals nationwide. In 2018, the ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive produced the most blood products of any Red Cross single-day blood drive in Illinois.
“We are so humbled to see how the outpouring of support for our community has allowed us to grow this blood drive every year,” Celena Roldán, chief executive officer of the Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross. “To see so many roll up a sleeve to provide lifesaving blood to the people who need it most during these critical winter months is such a meaningful gift to give this season.”
While all blood types are needed, 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.
To help save lives, the Red Cross and ABC 7 are partnering with Assurance, Clear Channel Outdoor, Constellation Brands, Duke Realty, Gallagher, Grainger, iHeartMedia Chicago, Portillo’s, Univision, and USG Corporation.
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.