NASHVILLE, Tenn. — First responders from around the state teamed up with the American Red Cross, Ascension Saint Thomas, and the Tennessee Titans and collected a record-breaking amount of blood donations during the "Remembering the Badges" blood drive. Eligible donors were encouraged to take part in these community blood drives since May 2021 to donate in honor of the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
The original goal of 2,977 blood donations, equal to the lives lost on 9/11, was far surpassed during the drives to 5,143 pints collected in Tennessee. Those donations will be used in area hospitals to save the lives of up to 15,429 patients. This was the 13th year for the "Remembering the Badges" blood drive partnership with the Red Cross and is one of the largest-sponsored blood drives in Tennessee. Supporting law enforcement and fire personnel, while helping to save lives through blood donation, is a long-standing tradition
The annual "Battle of the Badges" blood drives in the past have created friendly competition that takes place to see which Badge can collect the most pints at their blood drive for patient care. "We decided to band together this year and honor those who perished on that fateful day," said Garry Allison, Regional Donor Services Executive for the American Red Cross. "We are so proud of all the efforts that went into this year to provide our communities with a safe blood supply and knowing that during a blood shortage across the nation, we were able to surpass our goal is just amazing."
"Remembering the Badges" provided an opportunity for family and friends who are healthy and well to come together to make a blood donation to help seriously ill and critically injured patients. The Red Cross is seeing fewer blood and platelet donors step up to give as the nation continues to deal with the Covid pandemic. This downturn comes at a time when the Red Cross continues to see strong demand for blood products − including platelets − by hospitals.
"The need for blood does not stop and as we continue to battle this pandemic it is imperative for people to continue to donate at local Red Cross blood drives and at our blood donation centers in Nashville and Murfreesboro, added Allison. "These brave men and women who serve our communities have shown how we can come together and give life-saving blood to help those on the frontlines to help patients with traumatic injuries and surgeries this fall. To give more time to a family with a loved one battling cancer. To help someone battling sickle-cell disease. The need never stops."
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days and Power Reds can be donated every 112 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. In most states, individuals who are 17 years old (16 years old 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 need to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood drive safety precautions
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and added precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for staff and volunteers – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are encouraged to wear a mask during donation.
How you can donate blood
Simply download the American 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 for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.
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 RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Tennessee or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCrossTN.