Published by Kirby Winn on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Blog
Working to prevent blood shortages, lawmakers joined blood center officials in Springfield today to call on people to donate blood and stressed that blood centers are still safe, sterile places for healthy people to donate.
“Blood Centers have lost a projected 130,000 units nationwide as a result of nearly 4,000 cancelled drives due to closed campuses and the disruption of normal business. Blood only has a 42-day shelf life (5 days for platelets and thawed plasma) and unlike toilet paper, cannot be stock piled, but constantly needs to be replenished. Despite the coronavirus, there are still patients in need of blood round the clock for cancer treatments, child birth, trauma accidents, Sickle Cell, etc., as well as babies in neonatal units relying on donated blood to stay alive,” said Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers Government Affairs Director Margaret Vaughn.
“During these uncertain times, it’s important to remember that blood centers still need people to donate. The nation’s blood supply is down 30-40% from what it was a year ago, yet patients are in constant need. Every 2 seconds someone needs blood and it must be tested and, on the shelf, ready to go. If you have never donated blood before, now is the perfect time to start,” said 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis.
“Similar to the ice bucket challenge, the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers is launching the “#GiveBloodChallenge” (see https://givebloodillinois.org/). We are asking donors to schedule an appointment time, take a brief trip out to donate blood and post a pic (at least of your appointment time) and tag 5 of their friends to do the same on social media. While stuck at home, you can schedule your donation time anytime 24/7 at www.americasblood.org, explained Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield).
“I would like to officially challenge my fellow members of the General Assembly to the #GiveBloodChallenge. As a 12-plus gallon donor, I have been a lifelong advocate of blood donation and I know it can be hard to recruit people in normal times. However, donating is a very simple process. The screening is about 15 minutes and the actual blood donation portion takes 5-10 minutes. Less than an hour of your time can mean a lifetime to patients and their families,” said Representative Mike Murphy (R-Springfield).
“The blood donors need to feel reassured that It is safe to donate blood. There is no evidence that novel coronavirus can be transmitted by a transfusion or during blood donation. While social distancing is key, our blood collection drives and events should not be considered as social gatherings as they are essential healthcare services. Blood collection is a highly regulated process. There are already strict health protocols in place to prevent spread of infection among staff and blood donors. Staff are currently taking extra cleaning and distancing precautions beyond our already stringent protocols. Only healthy staff and donors who feel well and have not been exposed to COVID-19 should be present at blood collection events. We urge the blood donors to continue to donate in these critical times to maintain a steady blood supply." explained Dr. Ruchika Goel, Medical Director of Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
“The one thing that has increased with the coronavirus is people’s presence on social media, we are asking them to put their time on social media to good use and helping save lives by sharing the “#GiveBloodChallenge” and getting their friends and family to donate blood,” emphasized Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers President Jim Watts with the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
In order to donate blood, what can you do?
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 5-10 minutes.
Call 800-747-5401 or click here find a blood center near you and schedule a donation time (can be done online 24/7) and post a pic on social media using #GiveBloodChallenge.
If you are not eligible to donate blood, please tag 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 organization made 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), Rock River Valley Blood Center, (which covers northern Illinois); and Vitalant-Illinois (which covers Chicago and Collar counties). To learn more, go to www.illinoisbloodcenters.com.
Margaret Vaughn, Government Affairs Director
IL Coalition of Community Blood Centers
Cell (217) 280-0206