American Red Cross Blood Drive at West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau collects enough to save 60 lives

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Friday you could feel the Christmas spirit as people flocked to the West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau to save lives by donating blood for those who need it most.

An urgent appeal for blood is happening nationwide. During the holiday season, blood donations are extremely vital.

“We are down to less than 3 percent of the population that donates blood,” said Michelle Johnson, an account manager for the American Red Cross. “At some point, 97% of us are going to need blood or blood products.”

The blood drive lasted until mid-afternoon, with increasing numbers every hour despite the bitter, windy conditions outside.

The drive collected 20 units, saving 60 possible lives.

The reasons to donate are more than just the gift of giving.

“Sickle Cell runs through the African American community and the only treatment for Sickle Cell is to have a blood transfusion,” said Johnson. “We need more donors; there’s just no getting around it.”

Right now, the American Red Cross is only able to transfuse 40% of Sickle Cell patients.

“It helps me because it makes my blood stronger,” said Dave Thompson, a Power Red Blood Donor, who has donated blood for more than 40 years. “Plus, it helps them. Since I had COVID in 2020, I’m still antibody positive. So, they use my blood all over the place.”

“It’s the season of giving and this is the perfect gift,” Johnson added. “Blood can’t be made; it has to be donated.”

To be eligible to donate, you must be 18 or older, or 16 with a parent signature, and pass the health screening.

Related story: Summer blood drive collects enough to save 57 lives

 

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