Rockford– With the state’s blood supply running low, lawmakers joined blood center officials in Rockford 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 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.
“Community blood centers supply nearly 70% of all blood to Illinois hospitals, and they need our help during this unprecedented public health emergency. All of the blood donated stays local to the Stateline area and supplies ten hospitals here in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Please call or go online to make an appointment today to donate blood, “ said State Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford)
“Similar to the ice bucket challenge, the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers is launching the “#GiveBloodChallenge” (see www.illinoisbloodcenters.com). We are asking schedule an appointment time, take a brief trip out to donate blood and post a pic (at least of your appointment time) and tag 10 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,” Vaughn explained.
“This blood shortage is even more life threatening to the African American Community,” explained Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford). “Diseases such as sickle cell anemia, hypertension, lupus and prostate cancer are more prevalent among African Americans, all of which require frequent transfusions. However, the more transfusions a patient receives, the harder it is to find a match and the most compatible match would be someone with a similar ethnic background. Under normal circumstances there is always a shortage of blood donations within the African American community but now it is becoming a matter of life or death if we don’t come out and donate. I would also like to invite my fellow General Assembly members along with my constituents to participate in the #GiveBloodChallenge. Put your time on social media to good use by saving lives.”
“The blood donors need to feel reassured that it is safe to donate blood. As the FDA has stressed, the coronavirus does not pose any know risk to blood donors during the donation process or by attending a blood drive. We are only drawing blood from healthy people and have signage asking people not to enter if they have any flu or cold like symptoms. Blood centers always and will continue to be very sterile and follow strict FDA regulatory guidelines and are taking extra cleaning and distancing precautions beyond our already stringent protocols. We are asking that people first call us at 815-965-8751 or schedule an appointment online www.americasblood.org so that the flow of people can be more easily spread out,” said Heidi Ognibene, Director of Operations with the Rock River Valley 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 Ognibene.
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