Chicagoland community members came together and donated over 1,232 units of blood at this year’s fifth annual blood drive hosted by the American Red Cross and ABC 7 Chicago, surpassing the goal of 1,000 units!
Medical institutions all over the country brace themselves for a blood shortage around the holiday season. Even more so this year because of the emergency need for blood and platelets.
In order to aid in this shortage, many community members donated though the American Red Cross at Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Drake Hotel in Oak Brook, and at this year’s new location CDW At Play in Vernon Hills.
The blood drive collected 432 more units than last year’s drive, which amounts to more than a thousand people who can be helped as one pint of blood can save up to approximately three people.
All of the attending donors had an important reason as to why they were donating.
William Monroe, blood donor, donates blood regularly even if that means that he has to do it during his workday lunch break.
“It’s something that I think everyone should do if they can do it,” Monroe said. “My brother had leukemia and he unfortunately needed a lot of blood. With all the blood he went through, I feel like I’m still in debt.”
All donors are sought after, but there are unique individuals whose blood can help almost anyone, and that is O positive donors.
Maddix Moore III, blood donor, believes it is just as important to know your blood type as it is to donate.
“You know your shoe size, right? Well, those keep you warm. Knowing your blood type can save your life,” Moore III said.
A donor who has blood type O positive are referred to universal donors meaning that their blood can be used by many people.
Individuals who have blood type O are always urged to donate in order to keep up the blood supply in their community since it is needed by so many patients.
Carla Walters, blood donor, is one of those unique donors who donates every year.
“I came today because I wanted to help people. O positive is the universal donor, so a lot of people can use my blood,” Walters said.
Donated blood is not only used to treat medical conditions, but also used in blood transfusion and even surgery.
Jessica Klugman, medical student, knows what it is like to have a family member get routine blood transfusions due to lymphoma.
“That was really good treatment that helped her most with health and quality of life,” Klugman, who is a regular Red Cross blood donor, said.
According to Klugman, she donates blood approximately every eight weeks because she understands how important blood donation is.
“It’s just a small way for me to give back,” Klugman said.
Each person who donated during the blood drive left with a goody bag, some food and a smile. The American Red Cross has blood drives almost daily in the Chicago and northern Illinois. You can visit http://www.redcrossblood.org to find a drive based on your zip code. Thank you for helping to save lives.
Written by American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois Communications volunteer Jasminne Hernandez.