Red Cross driven to fill vital need, collect blood donations

Super Donor Days meant to increase supply before slow summer months

By MIKE HOEFT • mhoeft@greenbaypressgazette.com • April 6, 2010

Pam Mory collects blood Monday from Steve Wellens of De Pere during an American Red Cross blood drive at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in De Pere. (H. Marc Larson)

Blood donations often rise in response to crises such as the Haiti earthquake, but the need for blood remains constant throughout the year.

 “We saw a nice bump in donated blood after the Haiti earthquake,” said Dave Liethen of the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross blood services in Green Bay.

However, donations often fall during the summer when people are gone on vacation, he said.

“We’ll need as much blood today as we do on July 5 or Aug. 5. That’s why we try to create new opportunities about blood donation awareness, especially around Independence Day,” Liethen said.

The Red Cross promotes its Super Donor Days to spur donations right before the summer holiday, for example.

Blood can be moved around as needed at the regional level. When blizzards paralyzed the East Coast in February, the area’s blood supply was down 10,000 pints.

“So we helped transfer the needed blood there. The same thing would happen here if we had a tornado or flood,” he said.

The American Red Cross, which provides almost half of the nation’s blood supply, sponsors about three or four blood drives a week in the Green Bay area, and about two or three a day in the entire Northeastern Wisconsin region.

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 220 S. Michigan St., De Pere, hosts a blood drive about every five weeks.

“Hopefully, when I need blood it will be there for me,” said Nancy Craig of De Pere, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier, as she donated blood Monday.

Truck driver Jerry Perry of Ashwaubenon said he’s donated 34 pints over six years.

“Because of my schedule, there’s little I can do to give back to the community. So I do this,” Perry said after donating Monday.

Anyone older than 16 who is in good general health is encouraged to donate. People can donate red blood cells every 56 days. Students can earn community service hours by donating or volunteering.

2 Responses

  1. Can my son earn community service hours by donating blood? If so, how many and if he brings a friend would it be possible to earn more?

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