Give blood through American Red Cross during National Volunteer Month

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
American Red Cross adds blood drives to area locations to celebrate National Volunteer Month for April. PHOTO BY AMANDA ROMNEY/AMERICAN RED CROSS © The American National Red Cross 2018

To honor all community volunteers, April marks the annual National Volunteer Month and in celebration, the American Red Cross will be holding additional blood drives throughout the area.

"With no substitute for blood and no way to manufacture it, volunteer blood donors are the definition of essential," said American Red Cross of Kansas and Oklahoma regional chief communications officer Brittney Rochell. "And, over the past year, these heroes rolled up a sleeve to help ensure blood was available for patients across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Healthy volunteer donors are needed every day to help keep the blood flowing for hospitals and patients that rely on a readily available blood supply."

The American Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to join them in giving blood this month and as a thank-you, those who give blood by April 30 will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five $1,000 e-gift cards to a merchant of choice.

Visit rcblood.org/Gift for additional details.

To schedule a donation appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.Additionally, those with type O blood, are encouraged to give blood to ensure hospitals can meet patient needs. 

The following is dates, times and locations of upcoming blood drives:

Ford County

April 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dodge City Community College Student Union, 2501 N. 14th Ave., Dodge City.

Gray County

April 19 from 2 to 6:30 p.m., Gray County Rec Center, 17002 Highway 50, Cimarron.

Meade County

April 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Meade High School, 409 School Addition, Meade.

The Red Cross also said it will be testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies.

According to the Red Cross, the test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Tests will possibly identify the presence of antibodies developed after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as well.

"Plasma from routine blood donations that test positive for high levels of antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma to meet potential future needs of COVID-19 patients," said Rochell. "Convalescent plasma is a type of blood product collected from COVID-19 survivors who have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.

"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."

For more information on blood drives, visit RedCrossBlood.org.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com