The American Red Cross typically has a tough time keeping the blood supply strong during the winter months when inclement weather and seasonal illnesses can impact donors. This year the pandemic adds in another challenge in keeping the blood supply strong. The Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets this month. There will be an opportunity in Imperial Beach, Imperial Beach at the IB Neighborhood Center, 455 Palm Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Every day there are thousands of patients who rely on lifesaving blood donations – people like Leslie Johnson. In 2005, a farming accident left Johnson with broken bones and massive bleeding. In the first 24 hours after the accident, she received 10 units of blood and platelets. Additional transfusions and surgeries followed.

Johnson’s high school-age daughter, Emily, hosted a blood drive last semester because she recognizes the role of blood in helping save her mom’s life. “If blood had not been available when she needed it, she might not be here today. I might not have had my mom growing up. It’s my honor to be able to promote blood donation and help pay it forward to others in need.”

As Leslie Johnson faces additional surgeries to address ongoing injuries from the accident, she may need more blood transfusions.

“It’s so important, especially as we navigate this pandemic, to make sure there is blood available,” said Emily. “Blood is such a meaningful gift to give.”

One heartwarming gesture deserves another. As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give this February will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)

Make your appointment to give blood, platelets or plasma with the Red Cross by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

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 an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. 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. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.

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