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Hundreds sign up for We Give Blood holiday drive

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 12:35 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Red Cross says a total of 470 people signed up to donate blood through the We Give Blood holiday drive Monday and Tuesday.

6 News teamed up with the American Red Cross and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska for the two-day event.

Shawnee Peterson, with the Red Cross, says the need for blood donations is constant. But this year the Coronavirus outbreak has put an extra strain on the nation’s blood supply so the need for donations is even bigger.

“With the pandemic, and patients getting sick and hospitals having more and more patients in there, that need has expanded,” said Peterson. “So drives like this, blood drives all over the place with any organizations are absolutely integral to make sure hospitals and patients are still getting their needs met.”

All the blood donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. If they’re present, the donor may be asked to return in the future to donate convalescent plasma which could help patients battling the virus.

Dave Mach donates blood a few times a year. He donated Monday morning at Ralston Arena alongside his wife who also donates several times a year.

“The Red Cross is in constant need for it and it’s just the right thing to do especially around Christmas time, it’s the perfect gift, an extra gift to give. You could be saving a life, you’re helping somebody. So, give,” said Mach.

With reservations filled last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska was happy to see the strong turnout from the community.

“It just says so much about our community, so much about the people of this community willing to step up and give themselves, their time, their love, and blood, and give the gift of life and think about their fellow Nebraskans,” said Kathy Nellor with BCBS of Nebraska, which often takes part in community events like this.

Safety measures were in place to make sure it was a safe and secure environment for donors, staff, and volunteers.

Even though the holiday blood drive is booked, the Red Cross encourages you to seek out future blood drives and sign up for a donation. They’re also in need of volunteers. Shawnee Peterson says there’s been a big drop in volunteer numbers since the pandemic started. You can go to the American Red Cross website for more information.