American Red Cross: Community Partners Needed to Help Save Lives

By American Red Cross / Published 11.30.20
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The American Red Cross is seeking sponsors and locations to host critical blood drives. Blood donation is essential to ensuring the health of our communities, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need. It’s important to remember that blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled, so the need for blood is constant. With no known end date to this pandemic, the Red Cross needs the help of donors and blood drive hosts to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March, many regular blood drive sponsors have not been able to host drives due restricted access to facilities. As corporate partners, organizations, and schools cancel blood drives, nearly 20,700 units of blood have gone uncollected in the Eastern NC region. This includes nearly, 6,000 units of blood in the Durham/RTP area.

Why Are Blood Drives Host Locations Needed?

  • There is an increased demand by hospitals for blood due to the rising pandemic. Each holiday season, there is a decline in blood donors due to busy holiday schedules. However, the need for lifesaving blood on hospital shelves does not change.
  • There is a shortage of certain blood types – especially O negative, which is the most common blood type used for transfusions when the blood type is unknown. This is why it is used most often in cases of trauma, emergency, surgery and any situation where blood type is unknown.
  • The is a shortage of blood donations from diverse populations – especially African American blood products that are desperately needed for Sickle Cell patients.

How Can Durham Chamber Members Help:

  • Identify public venues that could host blood drives such as vacant office or storefront properties, churches, event venues of 1,000 sq. ft and above. The Red Cross will provide the promotion support for these sites.
  • Identify warm leads utilizing your circle of influence for contacts that would be willing to host and run a blood drive assisting in promotion and recruitment.
  • Share a call action supporting the American Red Cross needs on social media
  • Identify people/groups that would be willing to volunteer at Red Cross blood drives.
  • Host a blood drive! This would be a wonderful way for your employees, customers and clients come together is a safe, socially distant, community-driven event. Blood drives are not considered mass gatherings.
  • Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face masks for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of Red Cross donors, employees and volunteers.

Stories of Hope and Successful Partnership:

  • Keystone Park Longfellow Partners LLC has hosted five drives since the onset of the pandemic collecting 304 units of blood. They hosted two drives at their 40,000 square foot unleased space at 2400 Perimeter Park Drive. The first drive there collected 108 units of blood and the next drive collected 76 units. Space is now leased.
  • Rose of Sharon Baptist Church previously hosted one drive a year and averaged collecting 22 units of blood. Since the pandemic began, they have hosted 15 drives and have collected 506 units of life saving blood and have five more drives scheduled through February.
  • From Blood Donation to Convalescent Plasma Donation: The Red Cross is in this Young Donor’s Blood Volunteering for the Red Cross is nothing new to Duke University student Kees Heetderks. After all, as a junior in high school, he started to donate blood and organize Red Cross blood drives. Most recently, though, Heetderks became a convalescent plasma donor to help critically ill COVID-19 patients.

For more information, visit redcrossblood.org or to host a drive, contact:

Courtney Watkins – Account Manager  charles.watkins@redcross.org

Tara Tucker – Account Specialist  tara.tucker@redcross.org

Bruce Roberts – District Manager  bruce.roberts@redcross.org

Thank You!