Win a Prize, Save a Life: Red Cross Says It Urgently Needs Blood Donors
January is National Blood Donor Month, and the Red Cross is offering several prizes as an incentive to give blood.
When Kala Breder began bleeding uncontrollably in July 2020, hours after the birth of her son by emergency Cesarean section, it took 58 different blood products to save her life.
“Without one of those, I probably wouldn’t be here,” the Illinois woman said in a press release sent out by the American Red Cross. “I needed every last unit.”
But the Red Cross says it’s critically low on blood, facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. A lack of blood could pose a threat to patients like Breder while forcing doctors to make decisions about who receives transfusions and who will have to wait until more blood products become available.
The shortage is so dire, the Red Cross said, that it has had less than a one-day supply of some critical blood types and has to limit blood product distributions to hospitals.
Some of the challenges stem from the coronavirus pandemic, including about a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood as well as ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. Additionally, the pandemic has contributed to a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges, because people aren’t attending these institutions in person as regularly.
“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already dire situation facing the blood supply,” Dr. Baia Lasky of Atlanta, medical director for the Red Cross, said in a press release. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”
To incentivize blood donations, the Red Cross has partnered with the NFL to encourage potential donors to give blood, platelets or plasma, offering a sizable prize: Those who donate in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
The package includes two tickets to the big game, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience, round-trip airfare to Los Angeles and three-night hotel accommodations from Feb. 11-14, plus a $500 gift card for expenses, according to the Red Cross’ website.
Donors can also win a home theater package for rolling up their sleeves. The package includes a smart, short-throw laser projector; projector screen; soundbar; subwoofer; gift card for tech support with installation; and a $500 e-gift card to put toward food and other game-day necessities.
You can register to become a donor online, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
Similarly, Vitalant (formerly Central Blood Bank) is offering donors a chance at four, $5,000 prepaid gift cards this month. You can schedule an appointment here.
In addition to blood products, the Red Cross also needs volunteers to work blood drives around the country. These volunteers aid the agency by greeting, registering, answering questions and providing information to donors throughout the process. Blood transportation specialists — another volunteer opportunity — deliver blood to hospitals in communities across the U.S.
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Red Cross can sign up here.