Donation totals exceed expectations
TONICA — The village of Tonica exceeded expectations with residents’ support of the March 18 American Red Cross blood drive held at the United Methodist Church in honor of Evan Knoblauch.
Joyce Obermiller, a representative from Illini State Bank, which sponsored the event, was thrilled to report that 82 pints were donated.
“We’re extremely happy with the results. We had 65 available appointments and we filled 58 of them before the drive. We also had several walk-ins during the day,” she said.
A Red Cross press release said Knoblauch, a volunteer firefighter, experienced a pain that was thought to be a pulled muscle in March 2017, just before his 18th birthday.
After tests, Knoblauch was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a cancerous tumor that grows in the bones or in the tissue around bones. The tumor progressed to his lung, and after undergoing cancer treatments and receiving blood products, he thought he had won his battle against cancer, but recently learned it had returned.
The day of the blood drive, Knoblauch was undergoing additional cancer treatments, but his mother and aunt were present. They said he still has a positive attitude and that he remembers how volunteer blood donors gave their blood knowing it would be needed by someone.
“We think it’s wonderful how people are turning out for this to help because it’s so important. In the last two years, Evan has had seven transfusions, including two in the last month,” Evan’s mother, Susan Knoblauch, said as the drive began and the chairs were quickly filled.
She added that her son wants to help give back to his community and thank the many people who previously donated their blood and continue to help save his life.
“We are hoping for a very good turnout and the blood we obtain is obviously very good for the community and those in need of blood,” said Kim Knoblauch, Evan’s aunt in the advance press release. “Many times a transfusion of blood can be a matter of life or death.”
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Tammy Hibser, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross said in a press release.
“We take for granted that blood will be there at the hospital when we need it, but it can only come from generous volunteer donors. Giving blood in Evan’s name is a wonderful way to celebrate his life and potentially help others.”
The drive also netted 17 Power Red donations. These donations are similar to whole blood donations, except a special machine allows for the donation of two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning the plasma and platelets to the donor.
According to the American Red Cross, blood is needed every two seconds in the United States to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide.
How to donate blood
Download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation. To get started and learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters. They also supply about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teach life saving skills; provide international humanitarian aid; and support military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization depending on the generosity of volunteers and the generosity of the public. For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit on Twitter at @RedCross.