• MH 2020 - Sophie Keeler

#SSISaturday - #BloodDriveHowTo

Two blood donation organizations within the state of Minnesota include the American Red Cross and Memorial Blood Centers. Today, we will discuss the process of making a blood donation appointment with the American Red Cross.

Making an appointment with the Red Cross begins by visiting the website at

Upon entering this website, a potential donor needs to enter their postal code or a blood drive sponsor code, such as "MissHastings" for our May 28th Hastings blood drive!

After entering a zip or sponsor code and pressing "Find A Drive," blood drive events on various days and different locations will appear on your screen.

Find a potential location or date that works with your schedule and click "See Times."

With the recent surge of newly-created blood donation appointments, a message may display on many upcoming blood drives that no appointment times are available. If this is the case, you are encouraged to expand your search criteria by either widening your location radius or expanding your date range.

There are two methods to expand your search criteria. If you see a message saying no appointment times are available, there is a hyperlink within the message that takes you to a new webpage to "expand your search criteria." Another way to find additional blood drive events is to return to the original "Find a Drive" webpage and click the "Advanced Search" button.

Using either of these methods will take you to a new search page that offers additional options for Date Range and Location Radius. Changing either of these search criteria will allow potential donors to access other blood drives that may have open appointment times.

After finding a blood drive with open appointment times, it is essential to choose a time that works with your schedule, as well as the correct donation type. Donation types include Whole Blood, Power Red, Platelets, and Plasma.

A Whole Blood donation is the most common. All blood types may donate using this method, and the donation appointment takes about an hour. Whole blood can be centrifuged into the multiple components of blood, or transfused in its original form. If you do not know your blood type, this is the donation method for you!

A Power Red donation involves a process of separating your red blood cells from the other blood components and returning your platelets and plasma to you safely. It is typical for trauma patients and those who need a transfusion to receive a Power Red donation as part of their care. The recommended blood types for a Power Red donation are O positive, O negative, A negative, and B negative.

Red Cross Donation Centers are the only place you can make a Platelet donation. It is not a donation type available at blood drives. A positive, A negative, B positive, O positive, AB positive, and AB negative are the blood types recommended for a platelet donation. This donation method takes about 2.5-3 hours and mostly helps cancer patients and individuals receiving organ transplants.

Plasma donations are also performed only at select Red Cross Donation Centers. This donation type only takes a few minutes longer than a whole blood donation, at approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The ideal blood types for this donation are AB positive and AB negative, because AB plasma can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type.

After making your appointment, there are other important things to keep in mind before your blood donation appointment!

The American Red Cross recommends including iron-rich foods in your diet leading up to your donation because your body needs iron to make new blood cells, replacing the ones lost through blood donations. As a part of the pre-screening donation process, the American Red Cross will test your hemoglobin. Iron is an essential mineral that is a part of hemoglobin, which helps maintain your strength and energy. If your hemoglobin is too low, donation staff may ask you to give blood on a different occasion.

Additionally, the day before your appointment, ensure you get a good night's sleep, eat healthy foods, and drink extra liquids. You may also want to download the American Red Cross "Blood Donor App" to receive appointment reminders, start your RapidPass, and share your blood donation pictures on later.

Find more information about iron and blood donation at

Keep reading my Social Impact Initiative Saturday blog posts to find out why the RapidPass is so essential! Then, remember to attend the blood drive event I am hosting with the Miss Hastings Scholarship Program and the American Red Cross. It's on May 28th at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church from noon-6 pm! Use the sponsor code "MissHastings" to make your appointment. I hope to see you there!

Stay well,


#TheRightTypeToSaveALife #MissAmericaHowTo #MissHastingsHowTo #BloodDonation #AmericanRedCross #SocialImpactInitiative #OSELhastingsMN #MissHastings2020

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