Blood donors needed during Sickle Cell Awareness Month

EDITOR’S NOTE: I recently donated blood at Memorial Blood Centers’ office at the Essentia Health-Virginia hospital. The two other times I tried donating, I could not give a full unit of blood because I felt faint and nauseated. This time, I ate a good lunch, drank plenty of water, and avoided looking at the needle or tubes. The technicians made me feel relaxed and comfortable, and I got up and walked shortly after the donation was complete. I encourage all readers to consider donating blood if they are able, even if it hasn’t been a positive experience before. —Tucker Nelson, HTF Interim Managing Content Editor

Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations. With hurricanes affecting blood donations in the southern United States and COVID-19 impacting up to 50 percent of blood drives, blood donors are urgently needed to help maintain a stable supply of blood for local hospital patients.

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell disease is the most common blood disease in the U.S. Patients sometimes need frequent blood transfusions and can suffer severe side effects from receiving blood from multiple donors. MBC is looking for eligible donors to enroll in the Sickle Cell Donor Program to match patients with specially typed donors. Learn more at

The need for blood is constant, but the supply is not. To help in the fight against COVID-19, the FDA has updated some eligibility guidelines—some donors who were previously deferred might now be eligible to give. Check eligibility and schedule an appointment at or call 1-888-GIVE-BLD (888-448- 3253).

Blood donation is safe and essential, and MBC has a COVID-19 self-screening policy in addition to general eligibility guidelines. In general, you may be eligible to donate if you are:

• In good health
• 17 years or older or 16
with written parental consent • At least 110 pounds
• Free of antibiotics for
24 hours, unless taken for
preventative reasons

• Symptom-free for at least 72 hours following a cold or flu

MBC also continues to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma at all metro donor centers. While there is no proven treatment, it is possible that convalescent plasma, which has antibodies against the virus, could help patients with serious or life-threatening infections. Learn more at www.MBC. org/CPdonor.

Visit to find your nearest drive or donor center, or to make an appointment at one of the public blood drives below:

• Monday, September 21 from 1:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. at

Grand Ely Lodge, 400 N.
Pioneer Rd., Ely
• Tuesday, September 22
from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at
Grand Ely Lodge, 400 N.
Pioneer Rd., Ely
• Tuesday, September 29
from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the
St. Louis County Government Services Center, 201
South 3rd Ave. W., Virginia

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