HANCOCK COUNTY — It’s a great week to roll up your sleeve.
Today, Sept. 4, is Indiana Blood Donation Day, which is part of National Blood Donation Week that runs Sept. 1-7.
Over the past five years, governors throughout the country have answered the call to proclaim a statewide blood donation day to draw attention to the ongoing nationwide blood shortage.
The movement was started by iHeart radio host and physician Daliah Wachs — better known as Dr. Daliah.
While statewide proclamations focus attention on the issue each September, the need for blood donations remains critical throughout the year.
Reserves were especially low this summer, when numerous blood drives and personal donations were canceled when the coronavirus first hit in March.
After a brief pause earlier this year, drives are again being held across the country, with social distancing and COVID safety measures in place.
A number are scheduled in Hancock County this month and throughout the rest of the year.
A bi-monthly blood drive is held at Hancock Regional Hospital to keep up with local demand, said Angie Redd, technical coordinator at the hospital.
“We have not had to cancel any scheduled surgeries or had any trouble providing blood products for our patients,” said Redd, but “there is always a need for donations.”
The Indiana Red Cross and Versiti are two organizations that routinely bring blood drives into cities and towns throughout the state.
“We are always seeking out new blood drive hosts throughout Hancock County to help facilitate donations. We’ll especially need new blood drive hosts in the county in December,” said Duane Brodt, spokesman for Versiti, formerly known as the Indiana Blood Center.
Both the Red Cross and Versiti advocate that ongoing donations of blood are essential to saving lives, especially since the supply often dips to critical levels.
“Currently in Indiana, we have a three- to six-day supply of blood to meet the needs of our more than 80 partner hospitals throughout the state,” Brodt said.
The spread of the coronavirus resulted in the cancellation of more than 4,000 donation appointments and hundreds of local community blood drives throughout Indiana for Versiti this year, he said.
“The state’s blood supply is at a much better state now than in the past few months… however, our blood inventory continues to be a deep concern as we head into fall. With high-schoolers and many college students studying remotely, we’re losing blood drives at Indiana’s high schools and universities. Nearly 30% of Indiana’s blood supply depends on donations from Indiana high school and college students,” he said.
Versiti announced that the COVID-19 antibody test will be performed on all successful blood donations as part of standard testing, and that new FDA guidelines have lifted or relaxed restrictions on previously deferred donors.
Brodt expects Indiana’s blood supply to drop again this fall and winter, and encourages Hancock County residents to make an appointment to donate at a blood donation center or local blood drive.
“Donations of O-positive and O-negative are particularly needed as these blood types are the universal blood types, used especially to treat trauma victims,” he said.
Chad Priest, CEO for the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross, is also rallying potential donors throughout the state to take the time to make an appointment and donate.
Blood and platelet donations are needed every day for patients with many serious medical conditions, said Priest, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
“Now is the perfect time to give,” he said.
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Indiana Red Cross
To learn more about blood donation, including eligibility information, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-733-2767. If you were deferred from donating in the past, you may be able to donate again.
Red Cross donor eligibility requirements:
-At least 17 years old, or 16 with a signed parental consent form
-A minimum of 110 pounds, and in general good health
All eligibility criteria are listed online at redcrossblood.org. You can donate blood every 56 days, or up to six times per year.
To schedule an appointment to donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass.
Upcoming Red Cross blood drive:
Sept. 13: St. James Lutheran Church, Greenfield, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Versiti Blood Center of Indiana
Versiti announced that the COVID-19 antibody test will be performed on all successful blood donations as part of our standard testing. New FDA guidelines have lifted or relaxed restrictions on previously deferred donors. to find out if you are now eligible, call 877-232-4376.
Upcoming Versiti blood drives:
Sept. 12: Riley Settergren Memorial Blood Drive (Greenfield Rotary), Greenfield Walmart parking lot, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sept. 14: Hancock County Public Library, Greenfield (with Greenfield-Central schools), 3-7 p.m.
Sept. 17: Greenfield Banking Co., 1912 N. State St., 10:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Sept. 17: Hancock Wellness Center, Greenfield, 3-7 p.m.
Sept. 21: Bradley United Methodist Church, Greenfield, 3-6:15 p.m.
Sept. 24: McCordsville United Methodist Church, 2:30-7 p.m.
Oct. 5: Realife Church, Greenfield, 2-7 p.m.
Oct. 6: Hancock Regional Hospital, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Oct. 8: Brookville Road Community Church, New Palestine, 2-7 p.m.
Oct. 15: Rotary Club of Greenfield, (location TBD), 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Oct. 21: Eastern Hancock High School, 3-6:30 p.m.
Oct. 22: McCordsville United Methodist Church, 2:30-7 p.m.
Nov. 7: Hancock County Public Library, Greenfield, (in honor of Veterans Day), 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Nov. 8: Cross of Grace Lutheran Church, New Palestine, 8:15 a.m.-noon
Nov. 10: Fortville Christian Church (with Mt. Vernon High School), 3-7 p.m.
Nov. 15: St. Michael Catholic Church, Greenfield, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Nov. 19: Greenfield Banking Co., 1912 N. State St., 10 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Nov. 19: Hancock Wellness Center, Greenfield, 3 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10: McCordsville United Methodist Church, 2:30-7 p.m.
Dec. 17: Hancock Regional Hospital, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.