Kirby Winn wants people to remember to give this holiday —blood that is.
Winn, who is the spokesman for Community Blood Services of Illinois, said that blood donation decreases during the holiday season.
“As donors get busy with holiday travel, shopping, events, ect. we see a decrease in the rate of blood donation” he said.
Winn said during the week of Thanksgiving donations start to drop on Wednesday as people start to travel or host family and prepare their holiday meals. The drop continues on Black Friday which people use for additional travel, shopping or entertainment like movies or football games.
“It’s just nothing like a normal week in terms of blood donation,” he said.
Winn said the challenge during the holiday season is that hospitals continue to provide transfusions for patients who need blood, even as the donations drop.
“Medical care never stops, so the demand for blood is constant year-round,” he said. “If our supply is being used at the same rate, even though the rate of donation drops, we need to recruit as many donors as possible in the days leading up to the holiday and immediately after.”
Community Blood Services of Illinois provides all of the blood used for patient transfusions in Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Danville and the surrounding regions.
Winn said donors help provide a critical resource to local hospitals.
“During the holiday season we hope everyone will remember blood donation is the one gift everyone needs, costs nothing to give and can help save a life.” he said. “It’s the donations that are ‘on the shelves’ and ready to transfuse that make the difference in an emergency.”
Donors may give blood at the Donation Center located at 1408 W. University Avenue in Urbana. The center is open Monday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to noon.
Winn said the best way to learn about opportunities to give blood is by visiting www.bloodcenterimpact.org or by calling 217-367-2202. There is also a mobile app that gives information about donor centers or mobile blood drives. The app can be downloaded at www.bloodcenter.org/app.
If anyone is interested in hosting a blood drive they can visit www.bloodcenter.org/host-a-blood-drive/ or call 217-367-2202.
The American Red Cross is also encouraging people to donate blood during the holiday months.
The Red Cross is in need of 6,500 additional groups across the country to host blood drives in December,
January and February to ensure blood will be available for patients. In Central Illinois, 1,000 more blood drives are needed.
“When someone hosts a blood drive, they give donors a chance to donate lifesaving blood, in turn helping to save dozens or even hundreds of lives,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Biomedical Services. “Blood shortages are not uncommon during the winter months, and these shortages could cause delays in patient care. But with the help of volunteer blood drive partners, the Red Cross can be better prepared to meet patient needs all winter long.”
To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive. Blood drive partners who host a drive between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 will receive long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirts for all who come to give and if the partner achieves its donation goal, it will be recognized in a newspaper highlighting its lifesaving work.
A Red Cross representative works with the host and provides planning assistance, tools to help recruit blood donors, equipment and supplies, and the trained staff needed to screen donors and collect donations. To host a blood drive you need a large, open location, volunteers to support donor recruitment and volunteers to schedule blood donors. The Red Cross said that more than 80 percent of blood donations are made at blood drives hosted by volunteers.
Upcoming blood drives
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018
University of Illinois Campus Recreation
201 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820
10:00 AM – 03:00 PM
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
University of Illinois Armory
505 E Armory Ave
Champaign, IL 61820
12:00 PM – 04:00 PM