JONESBORO, Ark. (Nov. 16, 2020) - The American Red Cross and country music star Martina McBride have joined together this holiday season to remind people to take care of one another, sharing comfort and joy with hospital patients through the gift of blood donation. Health emergencies don't pause for a pandemic or holiday celebrations. The Red Cross needs the help of blood donors across the country now to ensure patients continue to have access to lifesaving blood.

As the U.S. experiences a new surge in COVID-19 cases, the Red Cross is becoming increasingly concerned about the nation's blood supply - including convalescent plasma. A convalescent plasma donation collects plasma from COVID-19 survivors because antibodies to the disease in their blood may help patients who are currently fighting the virus. Increased hospitalization of patients with coronavirus this fall and winter has caused the Red Cross to distribute a record number of COVID-19 plasma products to hospitals treating patients who are battling the virus.

On Dec. 10 and 11 the Red Cross will be holding Sickle Cell awareness blood drives in Blytheville at the Pilgrim Rest M.B. Church from 12:30pm to 5:30pm. A patient in need is more likely to find a compatible blood match fro a donor of the same race or a similar ethnicity. The Red Cross is committed to maintaining a diverse blood supply to ensure the right blood product is available at the right time, and every blood and platelet donor has an important role in meeting that need. To make an appointment to donate at this blood drive download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or go to www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code SickleCellBlytheville.

In addition, during this holiday season, Martina McBride is reaching out to country music fans and all eligible individuals, "If nobody has ever asked you to give blood before, I'm asking you give blood - especially during this trying time."

As a thank-you for helping meet the need for blood donations from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15, Suburban Propane is offering blood, platelet and plasma donors a chance to win an Outdoor Living Experience, powered by Propane, to enable a lucky winner to enjoy socially distanced celebrations with family and friends this holiday season. The prize includes a propane-powered pizza oven, fire pit, outdoor heater and stipend towards propane.*

"Through our SuburbanCares initiative, giving back to our local communities is a top priority, and what better way to do that than to donate blood. Suburban is delighted to sponsor a Propane Experience Giveaway to help motivate more people to give the gift of life this holiday season," said Nandini Sankara, spokesperson for Suburban Propane.

Eligible individuals are urged to make an appointment to donate blood now to help patients in need. Find a donation opportunity using the 
Red Cross Blood Donor Appvisiting RedCrossBlood.orgcalling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor skill on any Alexa Echo device.


COVID-19 antibody testing of blood donations
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 this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

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 the 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.


Area blood drives, through 12/15/2020:
 

Greene County
Paragould
  • 11/24/2020:  11am-4pm, Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, 317 S 10th St
  • 12/2/2020:  11am-3pm, Black River Technical College, 1 Black River Dr
  • 12/7/2020:  2pm-6pm, First United Methodist Church, 404 W Main
  • 12/9/2020:  10am-4pm, Paragould Light Water and Cable, 1901 Jones Rd

Craighead County

Jonesboro

  • 11/23/2020:  1pm-5pm, St Bernards Medical Center, 225 E Washington
  • Visit RedCross.org to set up an appointment at the Jonesboro Blood Donation Center or to see their operating hours.  

Clay County
Corning
  • 12/1/2020:  12pm-4pm, First National Bank, 612 N Missouri

Mississippi County
Blytheville
  • 12/10/2020:  12:30pm-5:30pm, Pilgrim Rest M.B. Church, 809 E Main
  • 12/11/2020:  12:30pm-5:30pm, Pilgrim Rest M.B. Church, 809 E Main
Osceola
  • 12/14/2020:  12:30pm-5:30pm, Chamber of Commerce, 116 N Maple St

Lawrence County
Walnut Ridge
  • 12/3/2020:  10am-3pm, First Presbyterian Church, 300 W Walnut

Randolph County
Pocahontas
  • 11/23/2020:  2pm-6pm, Sutton Free Will Baptist Church, 5421 US-62

About blood donation 
 
 
 

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weight at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of the donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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