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Red Cross hosting blood drives to address critical need

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The American Red Cross is reporting its lowest blood supply during a fall season in more than a decade, with its declaration of emergency need earlier this month still in place.

With severe blood and platelet shortages, the Red Cross is hosting a series of blood drives, and will need to collect 10,000 donations a week in November to meet patient needs. With the approaching holiday season likely to lead to a drop in donations, people are encouraged to give now.

“Since declaring an emergency need for donors, thousands of people have come to Red Cross blood drives across the country to roll up a sleeve and help patients who are counting on lifesaving transfusions,” the organization says. “The Red Cross is incredibly grateful for the kindness and generosity of these blood and platelet donors, but hospital demand remains strong.”

Currently, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease, the Red Cross says. Sickle cell trait screening results will be available within two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

Donations of all blood types, especially O, are needed in addition to platelets. Those who donate between Nov. 1-12 will be entered to win a trip for two to Hawaii, and those who donate Nov. 1-23 will receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card.

To schedule an appointment, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors must be 17 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and provide a blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of ID.

Blood drives follow coronavirus precautions, with the wearing of face masks required by all donors and staff regardless of vaccination status.

Upcoming donation opportunities:

  • 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26, La Crosse Blood Donation Center, 1427 Hwy. 16
  • Noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 29, Valley View Mall, 3800 Hwy. 16
  • 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Oct. 30, Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27, La Crosse Blood Donation Center
  • 11:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., Nov. 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, La Crosse Blood Donation Center
  • 12:30 to 6:15 p.m. Nov. 16, 23, La Crosse Blood Donation Center
  • 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22, Bethel Lutheran Church, 1931 Loomis St.
  • Noon to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 26, Valley View Mall
  • 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 26, Moose Lodge, 1932 Ward Ave.

Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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