LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The American Red Cross is encouraging everyday heroes to give blood for all the little reasons – to ensure children never have to wait for blood products they need this winter. Roll up a sleeve at the 41st annual Holiday Hero Donorama Thursday Dec. 27, and Friday, Dec. 28 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ballrooms A and B, 830 Philips Lane in Louisville.
This time of year, donations remain critical for patients like 16-year-old Elisa Torres-Yeckley who has B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (B-LBL), a rare cancer that affects white blood cells that grow in the marrow of the bone. She learned firsthand how important blood donations could be while completing treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
“During my three and a half month stay at the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital, I had to receive two blood transfusions,” said Elisa. “One, because I had an unpleasant side effect to an appetite enhancing drug and a second time after my 24-hour chemotherapy drip because my extreme fatigue was caused by a low hemoglobin count. While receiving the second transfusion, my nurse told me that she was surprised that I only received two so far, due to the fact that many children require multiple blood transfusions throughout their stay.”
The 41st annual Holiday Hero Donorama comes as the Red Cross faces an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to give now to ensure blood is available for medical treatments and emergencies during the holiday season.
As a special thank you for taking time to donate, all presenting donors will receive a complimentary meal courtesy of Stoker’s Broaster Chicken, a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt and a poinsettia from Country Corner Greenhouse, while supplies last. Free childcare will be provided by The Family Tree during the donation process. Donors and their family are also invited to enjoy live music from the Louisville Federation of Musicians.
“People who donate blood are superheroes in our eyes because they save lives, day in and day out,” said Elisa. “If I were able to, I would donate my blood knowing that it was being used to save lives around the clock. I hope that one day, people are able to realize how much they can change other children’s and even adult’s lives with just a pint of blood.”
Blood donations often decline during the holidays when regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Severe winter weather may also cause blood drive cancellations.
“This time of year, it’s important to remember that medical conditions and emergencies which require blood don’t stop for the holidays,” said Garry Allison, director of donor recruitment for the Red Cross River Valley Blood Services Region. “Come out to Donorama and give blood for all the little reasons.”
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter sponsor code: HERO or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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.
About the American Red Cross
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.