It’s time for us to have a change of heart about donating blood. Any one of us might suddenly need to receive it, yet only a fraction of us are donating it.
Rock River Valley Blood Center CEO Lisa Entrikin says donations are up a bit since the center made an urgent request in early February to respond to the blood shortage, but it hasn’t made up for the deficit that exists.
“We’re asking people to step up, especially if they’ve never given or haven’t given for a while,” she says.
The blood center needs to see 700 donors per week to provide the needed blood products and services to 10 regional hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin.
“The area we serve has a population of 500,000 people, but only 16,000 people donated blood in 2019. If everyone who was eligible gave just two times a year, we would never have a shortage,” she says.
It takes only 10 minutes to give blood. The rest of the hour-long appointment is spent getting registered, filling out a health questionnaire, having your temperature and blood pressure taken, and enjoying refreshments.
If you think you’re not eligible to give blood, call the center to make sure. Some people wrongly assume they can’t give because of medications they’re on, she says.
“If someone can’t give blood for a particular reason, it’s most likely a temporary situation and will not disqualify them permanently,” she says.
Winter weather and a bad flu season have kept people from donating.
“Last week (Feb. 2-9) our cancellations were up 40 percent because of the flu and our walk-ins were down by 20 percent,” she says.
Donations have been down for about a month in our region, and the problem is nationwide.
RRVBC has four donor locations: 419 N. 6th St. and 3065 N. Perryville in Rockford; 1740 S. State St. in Belvidere; and 461 E. South St. in Freeport. Check the website at rrvbc.org to see where the mobile blood center is located daily.
Make appointments online or call (815) 965-8751. ❚