The closure of schools and disruption of normal business has resulted in hundreds of blood drives across the state being cancelled, putting patients in need of blood at a great risk of not having it available. The Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers is launching the #GiveBloodChallenge for people to take a brief trip out to donate blood and post a photo (at least of your appointment time) and tag ten of their friends to do the same on social media. While stuck at home you can schedule your donation time with your local blood center online anytime 24/7.
“Unlike hand sanitizer and paper products, which can be stockpiled, whole blood has a very short 42-day shelf life (only five days for platelets) and constantly needs to be replenished,” explained Margaret Vaughn, government affairs director of the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers. “The FDA reports that the coronavirus does not pose any known risk to a blood donor during the donation process or by attending a mobile blood drive, which are not ‘mass gatherings’ but sterile environments, where healthy people can donate.”
“With so many people being taken away from their regular activity schedule, this is perfect opportunity to contact their local blood center and make an appointment to donate blood,” said ICCBC Vice-President Heidi Ognibene, director of operations at Rock River Valley Blood Center. “The screening process takes about 15 minutes and the actual blood donation portion takes five-to-ten minutes, but your efforts can mean a lifetime to those in need.”
“Less than an hour of your of your day can make a tremendous impact on the lives of people going through cancer treatments, child birth, trauma surgeries, anemia, sickle cell, burn injuries, etc.,” said ICCBC President Jim Watts with Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. “So much attention is on the coronavirus, that people are overlooking the fact that patients across the state are going through medical procedures around the clock, which require a safe and adequate blood supply which is now dwindling.”
1. If you are 17 years old (16 with parental permission), in good health and weigh at least 110 lbs. you may be eligible to donate blood. The donation process consists of a health screening, donating time, and snack. The actual donation time is only about 10-15 minutes.
2. Contact one of the blood centers listed below to schedule a donation time (can be done online) and post a pic on social meeting #Give Blood Challenge
· Central Illinois Community Blood Center (central & southern Illinois) www.bloodcenter.org 800-747-5401
· Community Blood Services of Illinois (Champaign area and eastern Illinois) www.bloodcenter.org 800-747-5401
· Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (Peoria area, western Illinois, Quad Cities & Metro East) www.bloodcenter.org 800-747-5401
· Rock River Valley Blood Center (northern Illinois) www.rrvbc.org 815-965 -8751
· Vitalant (Chicagoland and suburbs) www.vitalant.org 877-258-4835
3. If you are not eligible to donate blood, please tag 10 of your friends on social media to be part of the “#GiveBloodChallenge”.
ABOUT Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers (ICCBC).Founded in 2002, ICCBC is a statewide organizationmade up of not-for-profit blood centers whose mission is to increase awareness of the importance of volunteer blood donation through public education and advocacy. Members include Central Illinois Community Blood Center, Community Blood Services of Illinois, Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (which covers central and southern Illinois) and can all be reached at)www.bloodcenter.org, Rock River Valley Blood Center,www.rrvbc.org (which covers northern Illinois); and Vitalant-Illinois (which covers Chicago and Collar Counties) www.vitalant.org. To learn more go to www.illinoisbloodcenters.com