A Gift from the Heart Blood Drive

This Thursday, February 13th, OSF St. Joseph Medical Center is hosting a “Gift from the Heart” blood drive to honor the passing of OSF employee Matthew “Mac” Alan Carlson. 

The blood drive will be held at the OSF St. Joseph – Coffman Conference Center in Bloomington, from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm.

Mac was a Clinical Laboratory Scientist at OSF St. Joseph up until his passing on December 13, 2013, at the age of 30. 

“He was an avid blood donor himself and was always promoting donating blood.” Valerie Hawkins, Marketing Specialist for OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, said. “Every time we had a drive he donated blood. While he was battling his illness he received a lot of blood transfusions, so they became life sustaining to him.”

At Mac’s funeral in lieu of flowers, blood donations or monetary donations to the American Red Cross were encouraged. 

The idea to honor Mac with a blood drive in his memoriam came soon after his passing. 

“We usually do around three blood drives a year, with one being in February.” Hawkins said. “The February blood drive usually has a Valentines Day theme to it, but with Macs passing we felt it was more important to have the blood drive honor him.”

Their blood drives usually collect around 70 units of blood, but the goal for this drive is 80 units. 

Every blood donor will be entered in a raffle to win a $25 gift card for Walmart, and will also receive a Valentine’s Day treat. 

The importance of receiving blood donations is increasingly important this time of year, and this year especially. 

“This year, the winter storms and cold temperatures have resulted in cancellation of hundreds of blood drives or low donor turnout.” Joan Stralow, Director of Laboratory Services at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, said. “Currently blood is being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in. There continues to be an urgent need for all donors, but especially type O. The weather has also caused an increase in trauma patients desperately needing blood.”

According to Stralow, approximately 500 blood donations are needed everyday in McLean County’s region alone. 

In the United States approximately every two seconds a patient needs a blood transfusion, leading to a demand of 44,000 pints of blood every day, according to the Red Cross. 

Those who would like to participate in the upcoming “Gift from the Heart” blood drive are encouraged to call and make an appointment before hand, so they do not have to wait long. Making an appointment is easy, and can be done by calling 309-662-3311 extension 1030. Walk ins are welcome as well, but may have to wait a little longer. 

All donors must have a photo ID, and must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with a signed guardian consent form. 

The blood drive will be held from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm on February 13th at the OSF St. Joseph – Coffman Conference Center, located at 2200 E. Washington St. in Bloomington. 

If you can’t make this blood drive, but would like to donate blood you can call the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org for a list of local blood drives.