The American Red Cross has issued urgent need for blood and platelet donors as donations decline during the holidays
By Brett Auten
The American Red Cross needs you to not get lost in the holiday hustle and bustle.
Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion and 20-percent of those recipients are children. A small needle prick and a little of your time can go a long way in more way than you could know.
The American Red Cross has issued urgent need for blood and platelet donors as there were 21,000 fewer donations nationally during September and October than hospitals needed, according to the organization. The 137-year-old organization is asking that you give now to ensure blood is available for medical treatments and emergencies during the holiday season.
Joe Zydlo, external communications manager at American Red Cross Missouri and Illinois Blood Services Region, says that blood and platelet donations often decline during the holidays as regular donors are all over the place with holiday activities, and travel and severe winter weather can often cause schedule cancellations.
Shortages are a regular problem and supplies ordinarily reach the critical point at mid-summer and early January.
“We issued this around Nov. 12, so to do so five-to-six weeks earlier than normal is unprecedented,” Zydlo said.
Donors are urged to give now to ensure that families don’t have to worry about the availability of blood this winter. In thanks for helping to meet the need, those who come to donate blood or platelets now through Dec. 19, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email.
Donating usually takes around an hour and sometimes it is that type of commitment that lands blood and platelet donations on the back burner of the to-do list.
“It is asking a lot,” Zydlots said. “It is definitely more convenient to drop off food at work or to a local pantry. It’s one hour you could spend out Christmas shopping or shopping online during your lunch hour, but the need is constant. We have to be cognizant and mindful of that.”
To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets you can download the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Another way to help keep the blood supply strong is to host a Red Cross blood drive this winter. To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up, visit RedCrossBlood.orgHostADrive.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Dec.4- Dec. 19
Dec. 13: 3 – 7 p.m., Christ Alone Lutheran Church, 2600 Bates Rd.
Dec. 17: 3 – 7 p.m., River Oaks Church, 550 Hwy. T
Lake Saint Louis
Dec. 19: 2 – 7 p.m., Lake St Louis Police Department, 200 Civic Center Dr.
Dec. 3: 3 – 7 p.m., VFW Post 5077, 8500 Veterans Memorial Parkway, PO Box 126
Dec. 11: 3 – 7 p.m., Twin Chimneys Subdivision, 7145 Twin Chimneys Blvd.
Dec. 17: 3:30 – 7:30 p.m., Marshall Ford, 1075 W. Terra Lane
Dec. 4: 3 – 7 p.m., St Charles Elks Lodge, 560 St. Peters Howell Rd.
Dec. 14: 3 – 7 p.m., St Charles Convention Center, 1 Convention Center Plaza
Dec. 18: 3 – 7 p.m., New Hope Presbyterian Church, 1580 Kisker Road
Check the variety of days and times at the St. Charles County Blood Donation Center, located at 252 Mid Rivers Center, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Dec. 19: 2 – 6 p.m., Progress Park Center, 968 Meyer Rd.
The health benefits of donating blood
Do you believe that about 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, yet less than four percent actually do. If you needed yet another reason, not only is donating good for others but it also benefits you in the long run.
You get a mini-medical
You can donate blood only if you are fit enough to do so. Before every blood donation, you’ll get your iron (haemoglobin) level checked, and your blood pressure and pulse rate taken. This can help sound off any warning signs.
Reduces risk of heart disease and cholesterol
According to studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donors are 33 percent less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and 88 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. The lowered health risks have to do with iron depletion as high blood iron can cause a variety of symptoms. When donating blood, you are removing 225 to 250mg of iron from your body, reducing your risk of complications.
Burn some calories
A one-time blood donation can burn up to 650 calories, as the body has to work hard to replenish itself. Don’t go too fast, though. A donor can only give blood every 56 days.
Feel the joy
Every time you donate blood, you can help up to three or four recipients. According to Time.com, a study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who volunteered unselfishly had a significantly reduced risk of mortality than those who never volunteer.
CUTLINE: Photos courtesy the American Red Cross The American Red Cross has issued a need for blood and platelet donors during the holiday season. One place to donate is the St Charles County Blood Donation Center, located at 252 Mid Rivers Center. To make an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossBlood.org.