COLUMBIA, Mo. (March 16, 2021) — The American Red Cross and the University of Missouri are once again teaming up for the annual Spring Greek Week blood drive April 5-7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at MizouRec, 213 Rothwell Gymnasium, in Columbia.
For the 30th year the Red Cross and the University are inviting students, staff, faculty and the residents of Columbia to rally around a lifesaving cause that has taken on even more meaning during the pandemic. Last year’s Spring Greek Week blood drive and the annual Homecoming blood drive were both canceled due to COVID-19. Whether you are on or off campus, there’s no better way to celebrate the giving nature of the community than by helping the Red Cross maintain a sufficient blood supply.
Since its inception in 1990, the University of Missouri’s Spring Greek Week blood drive has collected more than 75,000 lifesaving donations. Normally, this blood drive would collect 1,500-1,800 donations, but with CDC protocols and health and safety guidelines we are expecting to collect 500-700 blood donations over the course of the three-day drive.
“We are so grateful to the University for allowing us to hold the Spring Greek Week blood drive this year,” said Joe Zydlo, Regional Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Missouri-Arkansas. “While things may look a bit different this year, the need for blood is still constant. We have to help local and regional hospitals and their patients get the blood donations they need. We encourage everyone in the Columbia community to stop in, roll up a sleeve and help us save lives.”
Last month record-breaking cold and winter storms across much of the U.S. had a significant impact on blood and platelet donations. The American Red Cross is urging healthy individuals, especially those with type O blood, to give now at this blood drive to ensure blood products are available for patient emergencies when help can’t wait.
Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide, including 42 hospitals in Missouri.
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 Red Cross Blood Donor App or visit RedCrossBlood.org, and enter sponsor code: MIZZOU, or 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.
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.