The Walker community hosted a blood drive with Vitalant Jan. 7 at Community Church of Walker that helped collect a total of 47 units of blood products for patients in need.

A total of 49 individuals volunteered to donate blood and 47 individuals were able to donate. A total of six donors also came forward to donate Power Red Cells (2RBC) that collects two units of red blood cells while returning platelets, plasma and a saline solution back to the donor. There were five people who volunteered for the first time.

Vitalant expressed their gratitude to Bonnie Bailey, who set up the church, Bev Meyer, who recruited donors, as well Lynn Moen, who registered donors the day of the drive.

Living through a pandemic can lead to many uncertainties, although one thing we are sure of, is that the need for blood never ceases. Blood is only useable for 42 days, so a constant supply is always needed, no matter the season. Winter has challenges with the threat of weather/travel and planning, but the winter weather is no wonderland for hospital patients who depend on blood to keep them healthy and alive.

Vitalant is currently testing all successful blood, platelet and plasma donations for antibodies to SARSCoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We are providing an initial test, to help identify donors who could help COVID-19 patients by becoming future convalescent plasma donors. Because antibodies are part of the body’s immune response and not the virus itself, antibody testing cannot be used to diagnose current coronavirus infection. Please postpone your donation if you are feeling unwell or suspect you may have COVID-19. Individuals must be symptom free for at least 28 days to be eligible to give blood. Learn more about eligibility for convalescent plasma donation by visiting vitalant.org/covidfree

Donors can make a convenient appointment to give blood at www.bloodhero.com or by calling (877) 25-VITAL. With each donation, donors receive a free total cholesterol test.

Blood donation takes about an hour from check-in to refreshments. Donors can save about 20 minutes by completing their Health History Questionnaire the day they donate on www.vitalant.org/health

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