This January, during National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross encourages people to roll up their sleeves to give blood to help maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients. Next month features several opportunities to give blood in Watauga and surrounding counties.
Since 1970, National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January to not only honor blood and platelet donors, but also to help increase donations during the winter months. Maintaining a sufficient blood supply for patients is difficult at this time of year because extreme winter weather and seasonal illnesses often impact donor turnout.
Karla Essmiller became a blood donor in college, but the importance of giving blood hit home when several family members had medical emergencies. “It only takes once sitting in a hospital, praying that your loved one will live through the day, to know how thankful you are for every single thing done to help them,” she said. “Donating blood is a simple gift that I can make that may help up to three people live another day. That makes me feel like a hero.”
The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to resolve to give blood regularly, beginning in January. Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types AB, O, B negative and A negative.
To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App from app stores, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Jan. 1-15, 2016:
1/8/2016: 3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., New Home Freewill Baptist Church, 655 Kings Creek Road
1/5/2016: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Alleghany Memorial Hospital, 233 Doctor St.
1/13/2016: 8:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m., Alleghany High School, 404 Trojan Ave.
1/4/2016: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Boone UMC, 471 New Market Blvd.
1/5/2016: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Holiday Inn Express Boone, 1943 Blowing Rock Road
1/6/2016: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Cheap Joe’s, 374 Industrial Park Drive
1/14/2016: 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Caldwell Community College, CCC, 372 Community College Road
1/14/2016: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 131 Big Valley St.
1/12/2016: 3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Mabel Elementary School, 404 Mabel School Road
1/9/2016: 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Bethel Baptist Church Hays, 3656 Mountain View Road, PO Box 679
1/4/2016: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Speedway Road Ruritan Club, 2411 Speedway Road
1/6/2016: 3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Sweet Frog – Wilkesboro, 1510-D Winkler Mill Road Ext.
1/11/2016: 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Pilgrim Baptist Church Wilkesboro, 493 Pilgrim Baptist Church Road
1/14/2016: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., McDonald’s, 1838 Winkler St.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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.
Blood donors can now 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, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.