POINT PLEASANT — For some, the simple sight of blood is enough to make them woozy.
But for others, a simple blood transfusion could be their lifesaver. That is why the American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood this holiday season. The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive at Pleasant Valley Hospital from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday Dec. 28.
The American Red Cross and MGA Entertainment are working to encourage blood donations and honor nurses nationwide this holiday season. MGA Entertainment has donated more than 1,000 Rosy Bumps ‘N’ Bruises, the all new Lalaloopsy nurse doll, to Red Cross hospital blood drives across the country. During this blood drive, donors can sign a greeting card that will be presented to the hospital along with one Rosy Bumps ‘N’ Bruises doll.
“We are excited to be joining with the Red Cross to promote blood donations during the holidays,” said Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment. “Rosy Bumps ‘N’ Bruises was sewn from bits of a nurse’s uniform and was chosen for this project because she always puts safety first, a mission she shares with the American Red Cross.”
According to Marianne Spampinato, communication manager with the American Red Cross, donations are down compared to 2010. Spampinato reported that in within the first 19 days of Dec. 2010, 10,694 units of blood were collected. In the first 19 days of Dec. 2011, only 9834 units of blood have been collected.
The need for blood donors is constant. But particularly around the holiday season, it can be difficult to attract enough donors. Spampinato stated that normally when schools are in session, students will donate. But with students gone, and families traveling out of town for the holidays, there simply aren’t as many people around town. Another contributing factor in low donations is bad weather. Some parts of the region had a great amount of snow around this time last year, and some blood drives had to be canceled. Also, colds and the flu are quite common in the midst of winter, which in turn, makes people ineligible to donate blood.
In addition to attracting enough people to donate, the Red Cross must also consider if they can accommodate all those willing to donate. Making an appointment ahead of time is strongly encouraged at most blood drives, to ensure that the proper amount of equipment and staff are present. But Spampinato reported that an appointment at this particular drive is required. Since the drive will not be located inside the hospital itself, but in self-contained unit in front of the Wellness Center, there will a limited about of supplies and staff. There will also be no place for potential donors to wait. To make an appointment, visit the appointment scheduling section of www.redcrossblood.org. The on-line appointment sponsor code is PVHospital.
Most people can safely donate blood every 56 days, Spampinato reported. She also added some other information regarding donor eligibility. Most healthy people age 17 and older, who weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood. 16 year olds can also donate, with parental consent. Donors 18 years and younger must also meet other specific height and weight requirements. Additional information regarding donor eligibility can be found at www.redcrossblood.org.
Spampinato reported that all blood types are needed, but she urges people with type O-negative blood to donate, considering it is the universal donor. She stated that medical professionals prefer to transfuse patients with their own blood type, but emergency situations can arise where the patient’s blood type can’t be found out right away, and type O-negative blood is the life saver.
For more information about the American Red Cross, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For more information about MGA Entertainment, visit www.mgae.com.