Donating blood

The American Red Cross is encouraging residents to donate blood to help those who need it.

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, about 500 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs, according to the Red Cross. Many groups postpone blood dives during the winter holidays when travel and holiday activities may make it challenging for many donors to give. 

According to the American Automobile Association, a record 115.6 million Americans traveled between Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. 

“Lifesaving medical treatments and emergencies never take a holiday,” Red Cross Biomedical Services Senior Vice President Paul Sullivan said. “Declines in donations can affect patient care. That’s why the Red Cross is encouraging eligible donors to make an appointment to give now and help those sidelined by illness and trauma.” 

Dr. Gregory Cusano, a pathologist at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, said giving blood saves lives.

“One donation may save up to three people,” Cusano said. “Not everyone is eligible to give blood, and one day it may be you who needs it. I feel it is extremely important to give blood. We have not found a man-made alternative to what we make naturally, and there is always a need. This is a great gift to give the community.”

Johnson County residents can donate blood from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at Venus High School, 12 Bulldog Drive. 

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients, according to the Red Cross. 

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old 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 old and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.  

Those who give blood through Sunday will automatically be entered for a chance to experience Super Bowl LIV live, according to the Red Cross. They have partnered with the National Football League to offer one winner two tickets to the football game; entry to the official NFL Tailgate; tickets to the Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center; round-trip airfare to Miami; three-night hotel accommodations at The Alexander — All Suite Oceanfront Resort from Jan. 31 through Feb. 3; and a $500 gift card for expenses. 

“The Red Cross appreciates the NFL’s support during this crucial time of year when every donation — and every donor — matters,” Sullivan said. “We hope this may inspire some to make regular blood donation one of their New Year’s resolutions.” 

Donors are urged to make an appointment to give now by calling 1-800-733-2767, enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device, using Red Cross Blood Donor App or visiting redcrossblood.org.

For information, visit redcrossblood.org/superbowl.

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