As blood supplies continue to rebuild following the extended Fourth of July holiday and blood drive cancellations resulting from severe storms, the American Red Cross is again partnering with Blair County media outlets and area businesses on the 24th annual Blair Blood Blitz, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Jaffa Shrine Center, Altoona.
The Blitz has a goal of bringing in at least 300 productive blood donations, which represents about a third of the collection target for the 100-county Greater Alleghenies Region each weekday, said Marianne Spampinato, communications manager, American Red Cross, Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region.
"Hundreds of hospital patients, including accident victims, patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses are counting on a strong donor turnout," she said.
In keeping with Blood Blitz tradition, Tuesday's blood drive features several special activities, including special refreshments donated by area restaurants and stores and drawings for gift cards and other items donated by area restaurants, stores and recreation sites. As part of the Red Cross Ice Cream Month promotion, all presenting donors will receive coupons for a free pint of Galliker's Ice Cream, while supplies last, and will be entered in the Tuesday drawing for ice cream for a year or an ice cream party pack.
Plus, those who make a Blitz donor appointment online by midnight Friday will be entered in a special drawing for a $100 gift card, winner's choice. For complete details, visit www.redcrossblood.org/promotions/greateralleghenies/24th-annual-blair-blood-blitz.
Spampinato noted that with the ongoing blood donor appeal, there is a critical need for donors of all blood types, particularly O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative.
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Most healthy people age 17 and older, or 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.
The Blair Blood Blitz will also feature double red cell donation opportunities. Because individuals are donating the equivalent of two red cell products, eligibility differs. Males must be at least 5 foot, 1 inch tall and weigh 130 pounds; females must be at least 5 foot, 5 inches tall and weigh at least 150 pounds.
Those with specific eligibility questions should call the Red Cross Donor Client Support Center at 866-236-3276. Donor appointments are available for the Blair Blood Blitz on www.redcrossblood.org. The sponsor code is Jaffa.
Individuals may also follow the Red Cross on Twitter: www.twitter.com/redcrossGAR.