I just got a note from my friend Jennifer Bowman of the Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC). Jen points out in her email that the RRVBC is running low on supplies of blood types O, B, and A (both positive and negative), due to high usage by our area hospitals.

High hospital usage, combined with slower-than-usual donor traffic, has left the RRVBC with supplies that have dipped below their preferred levels in recent weeks.

According to Jen:

“There is not one specific incident that accounts for the usage at local hospitals. Blood needs are often difficult to predict. As the temperatures and activity levels rise, the need for blood also increases. There is no substitute for human blood. Only lifesaving blood donors can provide the products needed by area patients,”

When the RRVBC runs low on their supplies, it's more than just Rockford that's affected. The Rock River Valley Blood Center serves as a centralized, community blood center and is the sole provider of blood products and services to Beloit Memorial Hospital, Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, FHN, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rochelle Community Hospital, Rockford Health System, SwedishAmerican Health System and SwedishAmerican Medical Center—Belvidere.

My daughter Molly regularly donates to the RRVBC, and although somewhat reluctant at first, when she didn't know much about how it all works, is quick to point out how easy, painless, and relatively quick giving blood is.

Are you eligible to give blood? Chances are, yes:

Donating blood is safe and simple. You are most likely able to donate if you are at least 17 years old (16 year olds may donate with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health. Persons taking medications are not necessarily disqualified.
There are four community donor centers throughout the area (Belvidere, Freeport, Rockford) as well as many mobile blood drives. Log on to www.rrvbc.org for hours, directions and mobile blood drive schedules.

Or, you can call the RRVBC at 877-778-2299.

There are not many things the average person can do to save the lives of three people in one hour, but giving blood is one of them: