Red Cross pushes for blood before holiday season

Jennifer Blanton, collection specialist, visits with Donald Gilbert of Green Bay as he donates blood during Tuesday’s drive at the Lambeau Field Atrium. The blood drive was hosted by the American Red Cross and the Green Bay Packers. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

Written by Charles Davis Green Bay Press-Gazette

“If he wouldn’t have pushed me, I would have never gave. I just wouldn’t have thought about it,” Judy Landwehr of De Pere said as she lay back in a lounge chair. She said she had not donated blood in about eight years due to low iron levels.

The Green Bay Packers and the American Red Cross partnered on the event, which was held on the Legends Club Level on the fourth floor.

The Landwehrs both have A-positive blood types, which means they could donate to one another if needed.

“We’re good for each other,” Judy Landwehr said with a smile.

Visitors on Tuesday each donated a pint of blood, which can save up to three lives. Organizers said 268 people donated blood, which
could benefit more than 800 people, said Bobbi Snethen, spokeswoman of the regional Red Cross blood services that covers much of Wisconsin, Iowa and Upper Michigan.

“It’s an outstanding turnout. Everyone wants to come to Lambeau Field,” she said while watching a handful of people who drank coffee or ate chocolate chip cookies after donating blood.

There is a greater need for O-negative blood, which can be given to patients with any blood type, she said. The Red Cross also had
increased need for A-negative and B-negative blood types. The Red Cross generally meets local needs first before blood is sent nationwide, Snethen said.

The blood drive was important because donors are typically busier during the holiday season and sometimes don’t come out due to weather concerns, she said. Getting blood drawn takes about 15 minutes.

The most common blood types are O-positive and A-positive. People are eligible to donate a pint of blood once every eight weeks.

“Which a lot of people forget,” Snethen said. “We call them and remind them.”

The event also featured a raffle with the chance to win Packers collectibles. Visitors also signed holiday cards, donated by Oshkosh-based Miles Kimball Co., as part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program, which sends messages to service members.

Richard Huguet, 69, of De Pere wore a gray Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV T-shirt. He began donating his A-negative blood this
summer after a nearly 45-year hiatus, he said. “It helps a lot of people out,” he said.

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