SOUTHERN INDIANA – Zack Keeney, of Jeffersonville, laid down on an American Red Cross blood donation bed, ready to do his part to fight the national blood shortage.

Surrounding him Monday afternoon were multiple other beds – all empty.

He was contacted about the critical shortage by the Red Cross and decided to show up to a blood drive at the Knights of Columbus in Jeffersonville.

“I always give blood,” Keeney explained. “My dad did it and took me one time and I’ve done it since.”

He said he’s always hopeful there is some sort of giveaway for donors and he was surprised to learn that there is one — a chance to go to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, about 500 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs. Many groups postpone blood drives during the winter holidays when travel and holiday activities may make it challenging for many donors to give. In fact, AAA estimated that a record 115.6 million Americans traveled during the holiday period of Dec. 21 through Jan. 1.

“Lifesaving medical treatments and emergencies never take a holiday,” said Cyndi Dahl, regional donor services executive, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Declines in donations can affect patient care. That’s why the Red Cross is encouraging eligible donors to make an appointment to give now and help those sidelined by illness and trauma.”

Those who come to give blood or platelets through Jan. 19 will automatically be entered for a chance to experience the Super Bowl live. The Red Cross and NFL have teamed up to offer one winner two tickets to Super Bowl LIV, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center, round-trip airfare to Miami, three-night hotel accommodations at The Alexander — All Suite Oceanfront Resort (Jan. 31 to Feb. 3), and a $500 gift card for expenses. Additional details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl.

“The Red Cross appreciates the NFL’s support during this crucial time of year when every donation – and every donor – matters. We hope this may inspire some to make regular blood and platelet donation one of their New Year’s resolutions,” said Dahl.

RECEIVING END

This fall, 13-year-old Josh Roy and his family learned the importance of blood donations firsthand. In October, Josh contracted a severe case of influenza B and necrotizing staph pneumonia. He was transported to the hospital, was put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine that circulates blood through an artificial lung and eventually needed a tracheostomy tube. Josh has received multiple blood transfusions during his treatment.

“You never know when someone you love might end up needing a blood transfusion,” said Jaqueline Bakehorn, Josh’s aunt. “We are so thankful for those who have given blood and would love to see more people donate.”

Josh is still hospitalized but is making slow, gradual progress. He faces a long road to recovery and may need additional blood transfusions along the way.

LOCAL BLOOD DRIVES

Jan. 10

• 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., City County Building New Albany, 311 Hauss Square, New Albany

• 1 - 6 p.m., Adaptive Nursing, 702 N. Shore Dr, Suite 103, Jeffersonville

• 2:30 - 7:30 p.m., St. John Paul II Catholic Church, 2605 W. Saint Joe Road, Sellersburg

Jan. 13

• 3 - 8 p.m., Georgetown Southern Baptist Church, 8585 Indiana 64, Georgetown

Jan. 14

• 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., YMCA, 33 State St., New Albany

Jan. 15

• 2 - 7 p.m., Graceland Baptist Church, 3600 Kamer-Miller Road, New Albany

Jan. 16

• 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., The Villages at Historic Silvercrest, 1 Silvercrest Drive, New Albany

Jan. 20

• 1 - 6 p.m., Clark County Community Drive-Knights of Columbus, 225 E. Market St., Jeffersonville

• 2 - 7 p.m., St. Mary of the Knobs, 5719 St. Mary's Road, Door 6, Floyds Knobs

• 4 - 8 p.m., Marysville — Mennonites, 8905 Tunnel Mill Road, Marysville

Jan. 21

• 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., RE/MAX FIRST, 2123 Veterans Parkway, Jeffersonville

Jan. 26

• 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Cornerstone Community Church, 6639 St. Mary's Road, Floyds Knobs

Jan. 30

• 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Ivy Tech Community College, 8204 Hwy 311, Sellersburg

HOW TO DONATE

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 and platelet 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.

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