Life-Saving Donations: Red Cross Blood Drives in Bandon
Local American Red Cross blood donors help support roughly 65 hospitals in the Pacific Northwest.
Donors at Bandon Community Center monthly blood drives gave 186 units between April 2020 and January 2021, according local Red Cross market manager Jen Shaw. To keep blood banks full, she encourages more donors to sign up.
“A lot of people think they’re not eligible, but we’re constantly updating eligibility,” she said.
That means donors may qualify even if they experience some common health complaints. To participate, donors should be in generally good health, weigh 110 lbs. or more, and be 17 years or older. In Oregon, 16-year-old donors may participate with parent consent.
And there is no to top age limit, said Shaw.
How to Sign Up
Shaw assists with blood drive site planning in communities throughout western Oregon and southwest Washington, including the Oregon Coast. She says a good collection target in a town the size of Bandon is 25 to 30 units, or pints, per month. Donors at Bandon Community Center monthly drives came close to that target in the last year.
Online pre-registration is highly encouraged. To get started, donors can visit RedCross.org and select the “Give Blood” menu tab. Browse the information on eligibility or call the blood services information line for more information.
Monthly Bandon Blood Drives
1st Tuesday, starting at 12 p.m.
Bandon Community Center
Online Registration: RedCross.org/give-blood
Red Cross staff, volunteers and donors are required to take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Staff and volunteers utilize PPE and routinely sanitize work areas. Donors should wear a mask, not a face shield, and follow directions for maintaining physical distance from others.
Making a Difference
Shaw thanks the volunteers and donors who make blood drives possible.
“Without our volunteers, we would not be able to fulfill our mission of saving lives throughout the state,” she said.
The donor base in Oregon and Southwest Washington is generally robust, especially among high school and college students. But, school campus restrictions during the pandemic make it difficult to maintain collection goals. Monthly community blood drives can help offset the drop in student participation.
Greg Fodrea is the senior pastor for the Bandon First Baptist Church, and he’s a regular blood donor. Considering the need, he says giving blood feels like the right thing to do.
About Red Cross staff and volunteers in Bandon, Fodrea said, “This crew is awesome.”
At the March blood drive, volunteer Carolyn Russell was the first to greet donors like Pastor Fodrea and monitor electronic temperature checks.
Red Cross staff arrange the community center space to allow comfortable distance between check-in, registration and donation stations. Some donors bring reading material to pass the time while the classic country music station plays quietly on a portable radio.
What happens after each drive? Most Oregon blood donations stay within the northwest region. But, emergency supplies are shipped to other parts of the country if needed, explained Shaw. Donations are tested, processed and distributed from Portland.
Donors who want to know where their contribution ends up can track their donation with the free Red Cross mobile app.
Pictured from top: Donor Greg Fodrea, Volunteer Carolyn Russell, Red Cross Collection 2 Specialist Melissa Morris
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