Red Cross blood drives planned in October

Red Cross blood drives planned in October

The American Red Cross urges people of all races and ethnicities to give blood or platelets to help increase the diversity of the blood supply.

The vast majority of blood types fall into one of the major blood groups. However, for patients with rare blood types or those who receive regular blood transfusions, blood must be matched closely – beyond the primary A, B, O and AB blood types – to reduce the risk of developing complications from transfusion therapy. The best match may be someone of the same racial or ethnic group.

Eight-year-old A.J. Torres requires blood transfusions to treat complications from sickle cell disease, the most common genetic disease in the U.S.

The disease is most common among people of African descent or Latino descent, like Torres, and can sometimes cause small blood vessels to become blocked. Diverse donors are important to ensuring he has the blood products he needs to regain his health.

“Within minutes of receiving a blood transfusion, I watch his strength restored, pain vanish and energy return. Soon he transforms back to himself – a rambunctious little boy,” said his mom, Caira Torres. “If an 8-year-old can withstand a needle, so can you.”

Donors of all blood types, as well as all races and ethnicities, are needed to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse patient population. Appointments can be made by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800- 733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. As a thank-you, those who come to give blood or platelets during the month of October will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five $500 gift cards redeemable at hundreds of merchants, courtesy of Tango Card. Terms apply; see rcblood.org/game.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in October in Macoupin County are:

• Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Staunton Community at Concordia Hall, 709 South Union Street, from 2 to 6 p.m.

• Monday, Oct. 21, sponsored by Zion Lutheran Church at Shipman Community Center, 111 Keating Street, from  2 to 7 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the multipurpose room of Southwestern High School, 8226 Illinois Route 111, Piasa, from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.