Norfolk donors can offset decline in blood donations

December 20, 2013
NORFOLK, Neb. —The American Red Cross typically sees a decline in blood donations during the winter holiday season. Individuals can help the Red Cross and hospital patients this month while discovering the true meaning of the season by giving a generous gift of a blood donation. Each donation can help save up to three lives.
“Hospital patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood and platelets,” said Tricia Quinn, CEO of Midwest Blood Services Region. “The closer we get to the major holiday week, the more we see donations decline. People are busy with gift shopping and holiday parties, and there is an overall sense of distraction. Though donating blood only takes about an hour, it is often put off during the holiday season.”
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. On average, the Red Cross must collect 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Blood donations are used to treat cancer patients, trauma victims, premature babies and those living with chronic blood diseases each and every day. Donated blood also helps patients like Rich Abler, who grew up in Norfolk and now lives near Winside.
Abler is unsure what caused his spleen to rupture nearly two years ago, but what he does know is that, without donated blood, he wouldn’t have survived. Abler was bleeding internally. In fact, his doctor later told him that there wasn’t any blood left to pump through his veins.
“If I hadn’t had the transfusions or if the hospital didn’t have enough blood, I wouldn’t be here,” said Abler. “People take blood for granted, but, when something happens and you need it, it really opens your eyes.”
Abler, who has recovered fully, had never given blood before he needed it. He now regularly gives blood and encourages others to give. Join Abler in supporting patients in need and resolve to give blood this holiday season.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Dec. 21 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at American Red Cross, 2612 W. Norfolk Ave. in Norfolk, Neb.
Dec. 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at American Red Cross, 2612 W. Norfolk Ave. in Norfolk, Neb.
Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at American Red Cross, 2612 W. Norfolk Ave. in Norfolk, Neb.
Please note that the Red Cross will be closed on Dec. 24, so the weekly blood drive will be held on Thursday, Dec. 26.
As a special thank you, all those who present to donate blood from Dec. 24, 2013, through Jan. 3, 2014, will receive a commemorative long-sleeve T-shirt, while supplies last.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.                     
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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.