TOLEDO, Ohio — This February, the American Red Cross is encouraging eligible donors - especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 - to give blood in honor of the legacies of African Americans like Dr. Charles Drew and Dr. Jerome Holland.
"Their passion for helping improve the lives of patients in need of lifesaving blood products is carried on through dedicated blood donors, blood drive sponsors, volunteers and Red Cross employees," representatives with the organization said in a press release.
Drew, an African American surgeon, was the medical director of the first Red Cross blood bank in 1941. His research about the storage and shipment of blood plasma proved that blood could be stored for transfusions. Many of the processes he developed are still in use today.
As the first African American chair of the Red Cross Board of Governors, Holland was also passionate about blood research.
"His commitment to providing the safest possible blood products for patients in need helped inform many safeguards the Red Cross has in place today to not only protect patients but also blood donors," the press release stated. "Donors have the ability to create a legacy of their own simply by rolling up a sleeve to give blood, platelets or plasma to help patients in need."
COVID-19 survivors are especially needed to address a convalescent plasma shortage. Leaders with the American Red Cross explained that these individuals could have antibodies in their plasma that could help patients battling the virus.
The Red Cross is also testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for those antibodies. The test could indicate if the donor's immune system has produced antibodies to the novel coronavirus, regardless of whether or not the person had symptoms.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.
The Red Cross is not, however, testing donors to diagnose illness. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone their donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center has standards of safety and infection control, along with additional precautions like temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff.
Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face-covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
HOW TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
Blood donation appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
Those who give blood this month will receive a $5 Amazon gift card via e-mail.
UPCOMING BLOOD DONATION OPPORTUNITIES FEB. 16 - 28
- Toledo Blood Donation Center (3510 Executive Pkwy.) - Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- American Red Cross Research Drive (1111 Research Dr.) - Feb. 16: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Toledo Police Patrolman's Association (1947 Franklin Ave.) - Feb. 17: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Toledo Firefighters Local 92 (714 Washington St.) - Feb. 24: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
- YMCA West (2110 Tremainsville Rd.) - Feb. 25: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Shops at Fallen Timbers (3100 Main St.) - Feb. 25: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- First Presbyterian Church (200 East Broadway) - Feb. 26: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Fasset Junior High School (3025 Starr Ave.) - Feb. 24: 3 - 7:30 p.m.
Whitehouse American Legion (6910 S. Providence) - Feb. 16: 12 - 6 p.m.
- Wauseon American Legion (1105 N. Shoop) - Feb. 16: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- St. John's Lutheran (122 W. Ottawa) - Feb. 26: 12 - 5:30 p.m.
- Holiday Inn Express (50 N.E. Catawba Rd.) - Feb. 19: 12 - 6 p.m.
- Immaculate Conception School (109 W. 4th St.) - Feb. 27: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Fremont Alliance Church (936 Brush St.) - Feb. 20: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
- Zion Lutheran Church (500 S. Brentwood) - Feb. 20: 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
- Woodville Township Fire Department (321 E. Main St.) - Feb. 19: 12 - 5 p.m.
- Bowling Green Eagles Club (1163 North Main St.) - Feb. 17: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Wood County Fairgrounds (13800 W. Poe Rd.) - Feb. 18: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Wood County Hospital (950 W. Wooster St.) - Feb. 18: 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
St. James Lutheran Church (165 Timmons Rd.) - Feb. 20: 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
2/20/2021: 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., St. James Lutheran Church, 165 Timmons Rd.
MONROE COUNTY, MICH.
- Ida Elementary School (7900 Ida St.) - Feb. 22: 4:15 - 8:15 p.m.
- Milan American Legion Post #268 (44 Wabash St.) - Feb. 17: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Monroe Knights of Columbus (202 W. Front St.) - Feb. 18: 1 - 6 p.m.
- Monroe Full Gospel Church (5337 E. Albain Rd.) - Feb. 23: 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Zion Lutheran Church (186 Cole Rd.) - Feb. 24: 12 - 6 p.m.
ABOUT BLOOD DONATION
Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device 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 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 of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Blood and platelet donors can 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.