DeKALB – Jessica Stott can’t really explain why she donates blood.
“I just kind of started,” Stott, of Maple Park, said.
Maria Lathrop of DeKalb said she began donating as soon as she was old enough.
“It saves lives,” she said.
Every year, blood donations go down over the holidays, because people are busy and fewer places hold blood drives. Since 1970, January has been designated National Blood Donation Month.
“There is always a need,” said Camille Piazza, marketing representative for Heartland Blood Center. “People need to realize that just because it’s the holidays, the need doesn’t go away.”
Heartland marketing director Jill Moeggenberg said the weather has caused 12 blood drives to be canceled since the first of the year.
“We’re short 1,000 units from what we normally collect,” she said.
Heartland Blood Centers serves 49 hospitals in a 12-county area including DeKalb and Kane counties. Operating under a volunteer donor system, Heartland collects more than 200,000 units of blood annually. Although Heartland’s first commitment is meeting local blood needs, it does assist other areas during severe blood shortages, national emergencies and increased demands by the armed forces.
Someone needs blood every three seconds. About 600 pints of blood are needed every day to meet the demand in Heartland’s service area.
Piazza said there is also a need for platelets, which generally take longer to donate than whole blood. Sabrina Cobos, a phlebotomist at the Heartland center in DeKalb, said platelets can only be donated at a blood center because mobile buses don’t have the proper equipment.
The American Red Cross reports that platelets can be donated once within a seven-day period, six times in eight weeks, and 24 times a year. It’s also possible to donate both blood and platelets.
Besides filling the need for blood, Piazza said blood drives are a nice way to bring a community together and provide a sense of community involvement.
Upcoming blood drives
St. James Catholic Church, Lee,
3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 16
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 18
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 18
Kirkland Fire Department
3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 22
Holmes Student Center, DeKalb
3 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22
Anytime Fitness, DeKalb
3 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22
First Congregational Church, DeKalb
3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 23
Malta Elemenary School, Malta
3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 23Walgreens, Sycamore
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 25
Prairie Crossing Supportive Living Center, Shabbona
2 to 7 p.m. Jan. 27
Blood can be donated at the Heartland Blood Center location at 2428 Sycamore Road in DeKalb Mondays through Saturdays. Call 815-758-7280 or visit heartlandbc.org/cntr_dekalb.html for hours and to schedule an appointment.