Holiday Blood Drive set for Dec. 21-22 in Cuyahoga Falls

Kent Weeklies
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The American Red Cross is partnering with Summa Health, Western Reserve Hospital and the city of Cuyahoga Falls for the 12th annual Holiday Blood Drive. The community is invited to help save lives this holiday season and give blood Monday, Dec. 21, from 1-7 p.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 22 ,from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls, 1989 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls.

All who come to give will receive an exclusive Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, a 29-inch long faux poinsettia stem and special refreshments, while supplies last. Donors will also be entered into a drawing for raffles, including a media package from Summa Health and two airline tickets from Unlimited Trips.

This event is the largest blood drive held in Summit County and has collected more than 7,500 pints of blood over the past 11 years. The traditional slump in blood donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s comes as the blood supply already faces challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. Required medical treatments and emergencies don’t pause for the holidays or a widespread coronavirus outbreak. Blood, platelet and plasma donors are urged to give now to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients.

Eligible donors with types O, A negative and B negative blood are urged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.

Important COVID-19 information for donors

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

According to the Red Cross, each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.  

How to donate blood

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter code: SUMMA, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device 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 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 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, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.