Red Cross encourages people to donate blood for the month of March

During Red Cross Month in March, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to join in its lifesaving mission by giving blood.

Since 1943, every U.S. president has designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world. Red Cross Month is a celebration of supporters, who are the face of the Red Cross in their communities and bring hope to people facing emergencies.

Blood donor Timothy Sheely knows the need firsthand. His wife required 12 units of blood during emergency surgery following the birth of their son.

“If it had not been for blood donors, she might not have survived,” Sheely said. “Thanks to generous blood donors, I still have a wife and my kids still have their mom. I can’t possibly thank those people in person, but I can give a little piece of me back with each donation for the greater good.”

The Red Cross depends on blood donor heroes across the nation to collect enough blood to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide. Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are needed to help those rely on blood products, officials said.

Those interested can make an appointment to help patients in need by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Berrien County

Buchanan

• Noon to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at the Buchanan American Legion, 403 E. Front St.

Bridgman

• 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at Bridgman High School, 9964 Gast Road

Saint Joseph

• 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at American Red Cross, 3838 Niles Road

Cass County

Dowagiac

• Noon to 5:45 p.m. to Friday, March 2, Cass County Council on Aging, 227 S. Front St.

Van Buren

Bangor

• 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at Bangor High School Annex, 799 West Arlington

Lawton

• Noon to 5:45 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Evangelical Mennonite Church, 425 Nursery St.

South Haven

• Noon to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, at Moose Lodge 697, 1025 Wells St.

• Noon to 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 06321 Blue Star Memorial Highway

How to help

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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

Blood donors can now 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, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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