Around Memorial Day each year, the Red Cross has a steep decline in blood donations. Busy summer schedules, vacations and school breaks also cause a drop in donations. Accidents and medical emergencies don’t take a summer break – patients need blood every minute, every day.
In summer 1973, Ramona Johnson was playing at the park when she was injured jumping off the swings. She was bleeding profusely from a 7-inch gash in her leg. By the time she reached the hospital, she needed an emergency transfusion. She credits the donors who took the time to give blood with helping to save her life.
Johnson’s childhood experience receiving blood compelled her to make her first blood donation more than 10 years ago.
“A little voice told me that this would be a great way to give back,” she said. “I have been faithfully donating every eight weeks since.”
The public is asked to schedule an appointment to help ensure that hospitals and patients have the blood they need this summer. To make an appointment to donate blood download the free Red Cross blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS.
In thanks, all those who come to donate blood or platelets through June 10 will receive a $5 amazon.com gift card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. Additionally, those who come to give May 25-29, will receive an exclusive Red Cross branded T-shirt, while supplies last.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Wilson County include:
• Thursday from 12:30-6 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church at 214 Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon.
• Monday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Providence Marketplace at 401 S. Mt. Juliet Road, No. 415, in Mt. Juliet.
• May 29 from 3-7 p.m. at Stonebridge Community Clubhouse at 205 Meandering Drive in Lebanon.
• June 1 from noon until 6 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet.
• June 13 from 3-7 p.m. at Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 522 Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon.
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 old, 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 old or 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 their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass or use the blood donor app.
Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play an important role to ensure an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, contact Renee Jenkins at 615-854-5950 or visit rdcrss.org/driver.
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 nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org.