PEORIA, Ill. (Sept. 29, 2020) — The community is invited to give blood in memory of Lucas Smith at a special American Red Cross blood drive held in his name Saturday, Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Itoo Banquet Hall, 4909 W. Farmington Road, in Peoria.
Lucas was a 16-year old Limestone Community High School student who received blood products following a motor vehicle accident that ultimately took his life. The blood Lucas received stabilized his condition long enough for his family to say goodbye. The blood products also provided time to keep his organs viable for organ donation.
Lucas was always on the go, had many friends and participated in wrestling and football. He was active in his church youth group and loved to volunteer. He was always there to help anyone he could. Even at the end of his life, he was able to help others through organ donation.
This is the first blood drive held in Lucas’ name and his family anticipates carrying on his legacy by holding blood drives regularly. “We invite all to donate blood, but especially families and friends from Limestone Community High School, Richwoods Christian Church and those involved with youth high school wrestling programs,” said, Susan Smith, Lucas’ mother. “We encourage you to donate blood on a consistent basis throughout the community as you never know when someone close to you might need these resources.”
There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Caleb Liggin, 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 Lucas’ 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.