Final THON blood drive Feb. 22 to help ease shortages

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Due to recent inclement weather, The Red Cross recently issued an urgent appeal for all blood types. Severe winter weather across much of the country throughout January and February has forced the cancellation of more than 1,000 American Red Cross blood drives.

Blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations come in. All blood types are needed now and will be needed in the coming weeks to help ensure blood is available for patients.

The final THON blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Intramural Building Gym 1 on THON weekend. Each donor will receive a $4 donation to The Four Diamonds Fund, credited to the THON organization of his or her choice. Pizza and other special food will be provided at the blood drive. THON blood drives show the connection between blood donation and cancer patients, who make up almost 20 percent of blood users. 

The partnership between the American Red Cross and the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) began in 2001 to help sustain regional blood inventories. This year marks the 13th annual partnership between the two organizations to raise money for THON.

At the blood drive there is an opportunity for blood donors, THON-goers and the general public to register, free of charge, with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) that matches potential donors with patients who need bone marrow transplants. Requirements are different for entering the registry than donating blood. There are no weight requirements; you may be an international student (if you plan to be in the U.S. for at least two years), no travel restrictions and no minimum iron levels.

Donors will have three options Feb. 22. Eligible donors are encouraged to choose the first option to help increase our local blood inventories.
1. Donate blood and enter the National Marrow Donor Program. In addition to donating blood, a cheek swab will be done to enter the bone marrow registry.
2. Enter the registry only.
3. Donate blood but not enter the registry.
Donors with scheduled appointments will be given priority status. Walk-in donors will be taken as space permits. Donation appointments can be made at redcrossblood.org by using sponsor code: psu or searching by zip code. Donors may also call the local Red Cross Blood Services office to make an appointment at 814-237-2713.

Volunteers are still needed to help run this blood drive. Interested persons can sign up to volunteer at www.volunteer.psu.edu/redcross.

Last Updated February 25, 2014