Red Cross urges blood donations amid collection challenges

UNDATED – The American Red Cross along with actor James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly, have joined together to urge all who are healthy to make this a summer full of life for patients by scheduling an appointment to give blood or platelets.

Actor James Van Der Beek and his wife,

As the nation transitions to a new, hopeful phase of this devastating pandemic and people begin to return to some of their favorite activities, the Red Cross is concerned about the impact this could have on blood donor turnout and the blood supply this summer. The need for lifesaving blood transfusions never takes a break. It’s critical to have blood ready to go when every second count.

The Van Der Beek family knows firsthand how important blood donations are in a health crisis In the past year, Kimberly Van Der Beek experienced back-to-back pregnancy losses. Each time, she needed emergency hospital care and blood transfusions to save her life.

Actor James Van Der Beek and his wife,
Kimberly and family.

“Donating blood is something that I’ve always done throughout my life,” said James Van Der Beek. “It seemed important. But I never knew how important until the woman I love most was in a situation where that much blood made the difference between life and death. It just brought it home in a very real way.”

Hemorrhaging is the leading cause of pregnancy-related complications that can occur anytime during pregnancy. “In instances of severe bleeding, blood transfusions often play a lifesaving role,” said Dr. Ross Herron, divisional chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “For mothers with complicated pregnancies or deliveries, generous donors are the only source of the transfusions they may need to survive.”

“If you’ve never given blood before, allow this to be your formal invitation. Will you please give blood?,” added Kimberly Van Der Beek.

Individuals of all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment now to give blood, and in most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility. Appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

In thanks for making it a summer full of life, those who come to give blood, platelets, or plasma in May will automatically be entered for a chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps five*, powered by Suburban Propane, via their SuburbanCares initiative. The Red Cross is also thanking those who come to donate May 28-June 13 with a limited-edition T-shirt, while supplies last.

“Suburban Propane is honored to partner with the American Red Cross and actor James Van Der Beek on their summer campaign to help bring attention to the need for blood donations,” said Nandini Sankara, Spokesperson for Suburban Propane. “Our SuburbanCares corporate pillar highlights our continued dedication to giving back to our local communities and through this platform, we support a host of community outreach initiatives throughout the nation; including our national partnership with the American Red Cross. It is our hope that this promotion for a chance to win a travel (trailer) camper will encourage donors to show their support and to help fulfill the need for blood collection.”

Health insights for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Testing may also identify the presence of antibodies developed after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Plasma from routine blood and platelet donations that test positive for high levels of antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma to meet the potential future needs of COVID-19 patients. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood product collected from COVID-19 survivors who have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is also screening all blood, platelet, and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity, and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.

Donors can expect to receive antibody tests and sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at

Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing, and face masks for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities May 16-June 12

  • May 16 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., at Grace Church, 4172 Allison Rd. in Camby
  • May 17 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., at Monroe County YMCA, 1375 N. Wellness Way in Bloomington
  • May 18 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the VFW Post 2366, 314 Geiger St. Huntingburg
  • May 18 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Waters of Martinsville, 2055 Heritage Dr. in Martinsville
  • May 20 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Berea Mennonite Church, 216 South Main St. in Cannelburg
  • May 20 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Free Methodist Church 1155 Troy Rd. in Washington
  • May 21 from 2 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Bethel Mennonite Church, 9335 North County Rd. 900 East in Odon
  • May 24 from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Oakland City Community Center, 1210 West Morton St. in Oakland City
  • May 24 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., at Monroe Convention Center, 302 S College Ave. in Bloomington
  • May 25 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Providence Mennonite Church, 47538 US 50 in Montgomery
  • May 25 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., at The Commons, 300 Washington Street in Columbus, IN
  • May 25 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Lawrence County Fairgrounds, 11265 US 50 in Mitchell
  • May 27 from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., at Community Center, 101 Tom Green Drive in Mitchell
  • May 26 from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m., at Columbus Municipal Airport, 4770 Ray Boll Blvd. in Columbus, IN
  • May 26 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Bloomington Community RSMO, 401 North Morton Street in Bloomington
  • May 27 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Schnellville Community Club, 7855 East Market St., in Schnellville
  • May 27 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., at Monroe Convention Center, 302 S College Ave. in Bloomington
  • May 28 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., at Hearthstone Health Campus, 3043 N Lintel Dr. in Bloomington
  • May 28 from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Knights of Columbus, 201 East 30th St. in Jasper
  • May 28 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at YMCA-Ferdinand, 131 E 16 St. in Ferdinand
  • June 2 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Dubois County Fairgrounds, 4157 South State Road 162 in Huntingburg
  • June 3 at from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 2835 North 500 West in Ireland
  • June 3 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 221 E. 6th St. in Bloomington
  • June 4 from 2 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at First Mennonite Church, 8002 County Road E 550 N. in Montgomery
  • June 7 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., Hope Moravian Church, 202 Main St. in Hope
  • June 9 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., Shoals Christian Church, 602 N. Main Street in Shoals
  • June 9 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Bloomington Community RSMO, 401 North Morton St. in Bloomington
  • June 10 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., at Loogootee United Methodist Church, 208 W. Main Street in Loogootee
  • June 11 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 4850 W. Goeller Road in Columbus, IN
  • June 12 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Grace Baptist Church – Bloomington, 2320 N Smith Pike in Bloomington

About blood donation

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

* Restrictions apply. The winner must provide a tow vehicle with the appropriate tow capacity for use with the prize vehicle at all times, i.e., such as a full-sized truck or SUV, in order to take delivery of the prize (2021 Coachmen Clipper Cadet 21CBH, estimated at 5,000 pounds). Additional information and details are available at