Blood center challenges community

• Rock River Valley Blood Center, suffering from blood shortage, sets goal of 2,940 units of blood

The Rock River Valley Blood Center is challenging members of the Rock River Valley to donate 2,940 units of blood during the month of January as part of National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. This local goal is a small portion of the blood that needs to be collected across the country, as the leaders of the nation’s blood banking community are calling upon all eligible Americans to donate a combined total of 1.2 million units of blood this month.

This annual month-long observance provides the blood banking community with an opportunity to pay tribute to past and present blood donors, and to extend an invitation to donate blood to those healthy, eligible individuals who have previously never given the gift of life. This call to action comes at a time when blood is traditionally in short supply due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness. This year’s flu outbreak has made blood collection especially difficult.

“We need a lot of blood on a regular basis to treat patients in the communities we serve, and we hope that sharing these numbers with the public will put into perspective just how much we rely on our blood donors,” said Betty Gibson, executive director. “We are urging people to start off the new year by donating blood and by making a commitment to become a regular donor. Blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, which means it constantly needs to be replenished, and donors can give blood every 56 days, or six times a year.”

Heidi Ognibene, RRVBC Donor Rescue Manager, said: “The need for blood is constant. Every three seconds, someone needs blood. Each day, patients across the country receive approximately 35,000 units of this vital resource. This year alone, more than 4 million patients will require blood transfusions, as accident victims, people undergoing surgery, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer and other diseases.”

RRVBC Blood Center collected 2,808 units of whole blood in January 2003, and this year is asking for a 5 percent increase in donations to keep up with the growing demand for blood. According to the National Blood Data Resource Center, collections for whole blood donations by U.S. blood centers in January 2003 were 1.12 million. The blood banking community is challenging the American public to increase that number by approximately 7 percent before the end of January 2004.

RRVBC is the sole supplier of blood and related services to OSF Saint Anthony, Rockford Memorial, SwedishAmerican, Beloit Memorial, Edgerton Memorial Community, Freeport Health Network, Harvard Memorial, Northwest Suburban Community and Rochelle Community hospitals.

Information: 815-965-8751, toll-free at 866-889-9073 or online at

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