American Red Cross Encourages Donating Blood

By Janice Eck

(Victor Valley) – The American Red Cross hosted a City-Wide Blood Challenge in the cities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Victorville, which came together in a friendly community competition. Drawing a response that was four times greater than last year, such blood drives are the lifeline for the blood supply of not only the High Desert, but around Southern California as well. Claudia Rodriguez, Red Cross Account Manager for the North Desert Cities, explains in an interview with High Desert Daily, “We provide 100% of Desert Valley’s blood supply, rare blood types and platelets to St. Mary’s in Apple Valley, and not to mention 150 hospitals in Southern California.”

Without a fixed location, the Red Cross relies on ambassadors like those who conducted the Blood Challenge to set up blood drives across the High Desert as well as regular donors. Once you donate, you could sign up to be contacted for future blood drives in the area. You never hear of a blood supply surplus or a blood overage, so you know donors are always welcome especially since the Red Cross is responsible for maintaining the blood supply of the High Desert.

If you have not donated blood because you feel you are not healthy enough or because you have tattoos, think again. According to Rodriguez, “You could donate even if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Tattoos are okay as long as your tattoos are older than one year. Most medications are okay as long as it’s not an anti-biotic or a blood thinner for a heart condition. It’s very easy now to donate blood and support the Red Cross.”

By donating blood to the Red Cross, you may be saving three lives. Rodriguez describes how the blood is used, “One unit of blood gets separated by the Red Cross. You get red blood cells for accident victims then you get plasma for burn victims and platelets for cancer victims undergoing chemo therapy.”

If the time comes you do decide to give blood, keep these tips from Rodriguez in mind, “Prepare yourself a week before. Eat foods rich in protein – eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Then the day before, drink four to six cups of water. Make sure you eat a healthy meal before you donate as well. After, you could continue your normal diet. Maintain consistency in drinking water and fluids.”

If you would like to host an American Red Cross blood drive or find out where there is one near you, contact Claudia Rodriguez at (909) 859-7097 or email her at Claudia.rodriguez@redcross.org. You may also find information at http://www.redcrossblood.org/ .

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