HELENA — The holiday season is over, and with that, the American Red Cross is revamping their efforts for blood donations. "There's always a constant need for blood,” says Nona Keeler, Account Manager for the American Red Cross Helena Region. “It is a product that does have an expiration date." That expiration date is 42 days after donation. The Red Cross also has a high demand for convalescent plasma.
"That is plasma, which is a blood product, that has developed COVID-19 antibodies in it," says Keeler. Medical professionals use the antibodies to develop this plasma to help all those fighting the COVID-19 virus. "It is proven in many cases to help the recovery," says Keeler.
The American Red Cross is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies and encouraging all those that recovered from the virus to donate.
"With the cases of hospitalizations, dealing with COVID issues, the hospital’s demand for plasma has increased significantly," says Keeler.
As the hospital's demand for plasma increases, so does a challenge for the Red Cross. The high numbers of COVID-19 cases in our community have caused some sponsored blood drives to be canceled. For this reason, there is about a two-week waiting period for an appointment. Yet, the Helena Blood Donation Center remains hopeful they can reach their target goal.
For the month of January 2021, their goal is to receive more than 300 units of whole blood.
The American Red Cross teamed up with the NFL to urge people, especially those who have recovered from COVID-19, to give blood. If you donate on or before January 31, you are automatically entered for a chance to win two tickets to the 2022 Super Bowl in Los Angeles, California. And if you donate blood by January 20, you could also win a 65-inch TV and $500 to watch the game at home.
The Red Cross also needs volunteers to help with blood drives, especially in rural areas; click here to learn more, or call 800-733-2767.