According to the American Red Cross, approximately 38 percent of the population may be eligible to donate blood. Yet only a fraction of those eligible donate each year, perhaps due to misconceptions about donor eligibility.
“Sometimes, individuals with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes suspect they cannot donate blood. Cancer survivors may also think they are ineligible because of their previous illness,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO of American Red Cross, Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region. “That may not always be the case.”
Whitman explained redcrossblood.org features detailed information about eligibility criteria, including chronic and acute illnesses, travel and lifestyle topics to help individuals determine their ability to donate blood or platelets. Additional questions may be directed to the Red Cross Donor Client Support Center by calling (866) 236-3276.
She noted that the most common reason someone might not be able to donate on any given day is low hemoglobin.
“Deferral for low hemoglobin can be temporary. The measure of iron in red blood cells can be improved by eating additional iron-rich foods or by discussing iron supplements with your family physician.”
Whitman added that earlier this year, the Red Cross expanded its website to include a section about iron, redcrossblood.org/iron. The web section provides specific tips for all blood donors, frequent blood donors and those who have been deferred for low hemoglobin in the past.
Donors of all blood types are currently needed to donate blood, adding that O negative blood is currently in great demand.
Come to donate in October and be entered to win a $200 Visa gift card, courtesy of Suburban Propane.
Upcoming Red Cross blood drives include:
• 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at St. Peter Lutheran Church in the kitchen and social hall, 6540 Central Ave., Portage.
• 2:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Faith Memorial Lutheran Church, 753 N. Calumet, Valparaiso.
• 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 505 Bullseye Lake Road, Valparaiso.
• 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the First United Methodist Church of Portage in the fellowship hall, 2637 McCool Road, Portage.
• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 29 at Walmart, 2400 Morthland Drive, Valparaiso. Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.
• 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the YMCA of Portage, 3100 Willowcreek Road, Portage.
• 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 5 at Washington Evangelical Free Church in the gymnasium, 3805 LaPorte Ave., Valparaiso.
• 12:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Eagles Lodge in the Social Hall, 805 Elm St., Valparaiso.
• 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 at Valparaiso University School of Law, 656 Greenwich St., Valparaiso. Come to donate and receive a coupon for one free taco courtesy of Taco Bell.
To schedule an appointment to donate, call (800) 733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org for more information.