Red Cross holds New Year’s Eve blood drive

THREE RIVERS — The American Red Cross’ Bloodmobile rolled into Three Rivers one last time in 2019 on New Year’s Eve, with a blood drive that was held at the Immaculate Conception Catholic School Tuesday.
The drive, held in the school’s gymnasium building, was one of many Red Cross drives that have been held in Three Rivers throughout the year, with some of them being held at the Joco Center on Wood Street. Steve Swafford, supervisor for the team that handled Tuesday’s drive, said they have different goals for different drives throughout the year.
“Goals are different every day, so depending on where you’re at is the goal,” Swafford said. “On Christmas, if you were at the Radisson’s Holiday Drive, our goal was right around 170. Now today, our goal is about 20.”
While Swafford said there isn’t an urgent need for any blood types at the moment, he said O-negative blood is one of the types the Red Cross is always looking for.
“I don’t think we’re currently under an appeal right now, but the need is always there. There are times that are greater than others,” Swafford said. “O-negative’s the universal blood type, and O-positive is a good one, too.”
According to the Red Cross’ website, there are specific requirements people need to meet in order to donate blood. People generally must be at least 17 years old in most states, in good health and feeling well, and weigh at least 110 pounds. During the process of registering to give blood, a confidential interview is held where questions about health history and travel are asked. The donation itself, according to the website, lasts about eight to 10 minutes and people give a pint of blood, equivalent to about 1 pound.
Many people who donated Tuesday, including Veronica Wooten of Three Rivers, did it because they wanted to help people who may be in need.
“I donate regularly, because it’s the least I can do,” Wooten said. “I post on Facebook every time I come in to donate, and I hope it helps spread awareness about giving.”
Mark Voege of Constantine, who also donated on Tuesday, said he donates blood every two months.
“I don’t necessarily enjoy it all the time, but it’s something I can do to help people out, so I do it,” Voege said.
The next blood drive in Three Rivers is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the UAW Local 2093 Hall at 15802 Hoffman Rd. from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The next one in St. Joseph County will be held at the Messiah Lutheran Church on 185 W. Fifth St. in Constantine on Friday, Jan. 10 from noon to 4:45 p.m.
Swafford said it’s important for people to give blood if they can.
“Blood is a life-saving product,” Swafford said. “People that have illnesses or accidents need it, and that’s why it’s important to give.”
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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