LOCAL NEWS

America Red Cross raffling Super Bowl tickets with blood donor levels at lowest in 20 years

Jan 8, 2024, 9:34 AM | Updated: 1:28 pm

MURRAY — The American Red Cross of Utah said blood donations are at their lowest in 20 years not just in Utah but across the country and are hoping a “super” incentive will encourage people to roll up their sleeves.

In a news conference Monday, the Red Cross of Utah said over the past two decades blood donations have dropped by 40% nationwide, from 3.7 million to 2.1 million donors between 2002 to 2022.

“The decline in blood donors doesn’t stem from a single cause,” said Heidi Ruster, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Utah/Nevada Region. “Changes in lifestyles and work patterns have contributed to the decline over the years.”

The Red Cross is also coming off a slow holiday season — a nearly 7,000-unit nationwide drop from Christmas to New Year’s. The drop impacts local hospitals and beyond as the Red Cross also provides blood during natural disasters.

Here in Utah, 45 hospitals mostly rely on Red Cross blood donations. Officials said 12,500 blood and 3,000 platelet donations must be made daily to meet that need.

To encourage more people to roll up their sleeves, the American Red Cross is calling on football fans. The Red Cross has teamed up with the National Football League for National Blood Donation Month.

All donors throughout January will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win two tickets to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Feb. 11. The contest includes free airfare, three-night hotel accommodations and a $1,000 gift card for expenses.

Donors must be 16 years of age or older to donate blood, 17 years of age or older when donating platelets, must be at least 110 pounds, and be in good health.

There are four donation centers located across the state, not including the dozens of blood drives held daily. For more information on the drawing and to make an appointment, click here.

“The only way to obtain transfusable blood is through donations. We rely on the generosity of others to give blood so it’s available when needed,” said Dr. Walter Kelley, medical director for the Rocky Mountain Division of the American Red Cross. “Any of us – our friends, family, neighbors – could one day need a transfusion. Yet, in the U.S., where 62% of the population is eligible to give, only about 3% does.”

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America Red Cross raffling Super Bowl tickets with blood donor levels at lowest in 20 years