NEWS 8 and Kyle Kraska are partnering with the American Red Cross and iHeart San Diego to host the Celebration of Heroes Blood Drive on Tuesday, October 20, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Pechanga Arena, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd.
The ongoing health crisis has resulted in blood drive cancellations, and recently the western wildfires have forced the cancellation of more than 120 blood drives in California, Oregon and Washington, resulting in over 2,800 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those undergoing transplant surgeries, fighting cancer and facing serious illnesses.
The blood collected at this special blood drive will help ensure that the 120 southern California hospitals that the Red Cross serves – including 10 San Diego hospitals – have the blood products that patients rely on.
As a thank-you, those who come to give blood will receive a voucher for a free sub sandwich, courtesy of Jersey Mike’s Subs, and a free 5-ounce yogurt, thanks to Yogurtland. In appreciation, those who come to give Oct. 15-Nov. 11 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card* via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane, and the Red Cross is offering a $1,000 Amazon.com Gift Card to five lucky winners who come to give in October. *Terms and conditions apply; visit rcblood.org/unite.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions– including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
How to help
Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate this October by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device and use sponsor code News8Kyle.
How to donate blood
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.