Blood shortage prompts urgent call for people to donate

Zachary Sterbens gives a Power Red donation at the Red Cross Salt Lake City Blood Donation Center. Sterbens, who received a blood transfusion as a baby, has been donating for five years. (Photo contributed)

MENDOTA — This January, National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types. The public is encouraged to make an appointment at a blood drive in their area to help address this winter blood donation shortage.

Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year. The Red Cross has reported that more than 150 blood drives were forced to cancel due to extreme weather causing over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules that collectively contribute to more than 28,000 fewer donations than were needed in November and December.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Clifford Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.” 

While serving local hospitals is the first priority, the Red Cross can move blood products to where they are needed most. This allows generous donors throughout the country to contribute to the national blood supply and potentially help patients locally and in storm-affected areas.

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood and donation types right now:

Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand.

Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.

Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients.

Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation.

How to help

Choose a location from the list of upcoming blood drives in Mendota and the surrounding area (found below). Eligible donors can schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App. Appointments are preferred but walk in donors are also accepted.

Who blood donations help

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood – a need that is all too real for Heather Hrouda and her family. Hrouda was 25 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she began bleeding. An emergency cesarean section was performed, but Hrouda hemorrhaged during surgery. She received 14 units of blood and seven units of plasma before she and her newborn son, Rusher, were flown to a nearby hospital. There, she received additional transfusions, and Rusher was moved to the neonatal intensive care unit, where he also received a blood transfusion to increase his red blood cell count.

“My family and I are so thankful for all the blood donors,” said Hrouda. “It is safe to say that without their time and donations, Rusher and I would not be here today. Because of donors, I get to watch my kids grow up and become the adults they dream of being.”

The Hroudas are just two examples of the many patients who depend on blood and platelet donors. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to save their lives. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

Area blood drives January & February

Below is a list of upcoming blood donation opportunities that have been scheduled in Mendota and the surrounding area.


Friday, Jan. 12 at OSF HealthCare Saint Paul Medical Center, Mendota from noon to 5 p.m. in Conference Room C. Schedule an appointment by calling (815) 539-1411, weekdays. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Mendota Moose Family Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment or for more information, call Lori at (815) 866-3582.


Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Zion United Church of Christ, 1521 Sixth St., Peru from noon-5:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 5 at the Illinois Valley Community Hospital Office Building, 1305 Sixth St., Peru from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Illinois Valley Chapter Donation Center, 1530 Fourth St., Peru from noon-5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Illinois Valley Chapter Donation Center, 1530 Fourth St., Peru from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


Thursday, Jan. 18 at Illinois Valley Community College, Oglesby from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


Thursday, Jan. 11 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 407 East St., Earlville from 2-6 p.m.

Spring Valley

Tuesday, Jan. 30 at St. Margaret’s Hospital, 600 E. First St., Spring Valley from 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.


Tuesday, Jan. 30 at the Amboy Community Building, 280 W. Wasson Road, Amboy from noon-6 p.m.

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