The American Red Cross and National Football League are teaming up during National Blood Donor Month to urge individuals — especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 — to give blood and help tackle the national convalescent plasma shortage.
Right now, more donors are needed to help hospital patients.
Locally, the American Red Cross plans to conduct a blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m. Jan. 19 in the fellowship hall at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 605 S. Walnut St., Seymour.
A second blood drive is planned for 1 to 6 p.m. Jan. 18 at First United Methodist Church, 240 W. Poplar St., North Vernon.
All blood types are needed, and each donation can help save up to three lives.
The traditional slump in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s comes as the blood supply already faces challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who come to donate blood or platelets this month will be automatically entered to win two tickets to the 2022 Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
In addition, those who come to give between Jan. 1 and 20 will be automatically entered to win the Big Game at Home package for an awesome viewing experience safely at home with a 65-inch television and a $500 gift card to put toward food and fun.
“Blood and plasma donors who have recovered from COVID-19 may have the power to help critically ill patients currently battling the virus,” said Cyndi Dahl, regional donor services executive for the Red Cross River Valley Blood Services Region.
“With hospital distributions for convalescent plasma increasing about 250% since October, these generous donations are vital in helping to save lives throughout the winter, a time that is often challenging to collect enough blood products for those in need,” she said.
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in.
Donors can save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass online at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass or via the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
To schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767.
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff — have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.
Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at a drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.