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March Is Red Cross Month, Consider Donating Blood

Eligible donors are encouraged to give blood or platelets during Red Cross Month.

Report by Paula Antolini
March 4, 2015 10:40AM EDT

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Everyday Heroes Recognized During Red Cross Month

March is Red Cross month, and the perfect time to recognize American Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood drive coordinators and other supporters. Without the generosity of these everyday heroes, the Red Cross would be unable to fulfill its lifesaving mission and help patients in need.

ONE GALLON OF HOPE Tori Kowal, of Omaha, Nebraska, first donated blood at her school on what happened to be her 16th birthday – January 18, 2013. She had seen her grandparents battle cancer and had witnessed a car accident in which the victims needed blood. Rolling up a sleeve seemed like a natural way to help.

“They always talk about service at school,” Tori said. “This is such an easy way to serve. It takes barely any time, and it’s a really good feeling to know I was able to help someone else.”

Tori made it her mission to donate as often as she can. She reached her one gallon donation this past February, just one month after turning 18. Tori wishes to reach further milestones to help turn her gallons of donations into hope for patients in need.

“As long as I’m eligible, I’ll always be back. Just trying to give as much as I can.”

WINTER WEATHER AFFECTS DONATIONS Red Cross Month comes at a time when winter weather can affect blood and platelet donations. Since February 1, nearly 800 Red Cross blood drives in two dozen states were canceled because of inclement weather, resulting in approximately 26,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Eligible donors who live in areas where it is safe to travel are encouraged to make an appointment to give now, and those in areas affected by severe weather are asked to make and keep appointments when it is safe to do so.

Though winter weather may affect donations, hospital patients still need transfusions of blood and platelets. Donors with blood types O negative, A negative, B negative and platelet donors are especially needed.

The Red Cross relies on everyday heroes in communities across the nation to help ensure blood products are available for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients.

HOW TO DONATE Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh 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.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.

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How to Donate Blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh 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.

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Where and When to Donate Blood in Fairfield County

Bridgeport

3/19/2015: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Bridgeport Hospital, 267 Grant Street

Danbury

3/29/2015: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Danbury Hospital RSM, Hospital Avenue

Fairfield

3/20/2015: 1 p.m. – 6:45 p.m., Grace United Methodist Church, 1089 Fairfield Woods Road

3/27/2015: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Sportsplex at Fairfield, 85 Mill Plain Road, Building

New Canaan

3/24/2015: 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Saint Mark’s Church, 111 Oenoke Ridge Road

Newtown

3/26/2015: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Newtown Municipal, 3 Primrose Street

Norwalk

3/17/2015: 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Avenue

3/19/2015: 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Avenue

3/21/2015: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Avenue

3/24/2015: 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Avenue

3/26/2015: 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Avenue

3/28/2015: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Avenue

3/31/2015: 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Red Cross Fairfield County Blood Donation Center, 596 Westport Avenue

Redding

3/24/2015: 12:45 p.m. – 6 p.m., First Church of Christ, Congregational, 25 Cross Hwy

Shelton

3/26/2015: 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Hewitt Health & Rehab Center, 45 Maltby Street

Stamford

3/18/2015: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Trinity Catholic High School, 926 Newfield Avenue

3/28/2015: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tully Health Center, 32 Strawberry Hill Court

Stratford

3/16/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Porter and Chester Institute, 670 Lordship Boulevard

*****

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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