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KENOSHA – On Thursday, March 10, Tremper High School will be welcoming Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin back to its campus from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. for the largest student-led blood drive in the state of Wisconsin. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Tremper’s blood drive.

Not only is Versiti hoping to collect over 1,000 units of blood, but Tremper High School is close to hitting a milestone this year, by welcoming its 30,000th blood donor. Versiti is offering BOGO coupons from partner Noodles & Company (while supplies last), refreshments and other prizes to all those attempting to claim that special 30,000th donor status.

“For 40 years, the students and community of Tremper High School have been rolling up their sleeves for those in need. The lifesaving impact of their commitment and dedication is truly immeasurable,” said Chris Miskel, president and CEO of Versiti. “This student-powered event is one of a kind, and we look forward to keeping it going for another 40 years!”

Wisconsin’s Blood Shortage

The Racine County Eye reported back in January on the national blood crisis. While Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin and the American Red Cross are two different blood collecting agencies, the need for blood knows no separation.

Here is where the state of Wisconsin currently stands:

Back in January, the American Red Cross reached out with a plea for blood donations. At that time, the country was facing the worst blood supply shortage in more than a decade.

Mary Jane Thomsen is the Executive Director for the Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross in Wisconsin. In a January interview with WEAU 13 News Eau Claire, Thomsen spoke of the shortage. “This is the first-ever declared blood crisis and like other health care organizations and other businesses, we are not immune to the effects of COVID-19 and also staffing shortages,” Thomsen said.

Blood Supply Still Vulnerable

The residents of Wisconsin answered the call, bolstering stores from a one-day supply of “critical blood products” to nearly a four-day supply. The Red Cross states that a five-day supply is optimal for their organization’s coverage.

Nationwide, however, blood donations are still coming in at a lower-than-average pace. With both Versiti and the Red Cross actively hosting blood drives, Wisconsin is coming in above the national average despite winter weather-instigated cancellations in February.

Versiti is currently hovering around a one- or two-day supply of blood products, whereas optimal stores would be around a three- or four-day supply, according to Kristin Paltzer, Public Relations Manager at Versiti.

Tremper High School Blood Drive and Beyond

Tomorrow’s blood drive still had 271 open appointment slots as of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Scheduling an appointment couldn’t be easier. Click the button below to schedule a time to be part of the largest student-led blood drive in the state. If you don’t see a time that works for you, walk-ins will be welcomed all day long according to Paltzer. If you are unable to schedule online, please call 1-877-BE-A-HER0 (1-877-232-4376) to make your appointment.

Eligible donors are 17 and older (16-year-olds may donate with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in overall good health. Donors must present a photo ID that includes their birthdate. A complete list of eligibility requirements can be found on the Red Cross website. Additionally, an exhaustive list of frequently asked questions can be found on Versiti’s website.

Tremper High School is located at 8560 26th Ave. in Kenosha, and the blood drive will be held in the gym. The process takes about an hour, from start to finish, with actual blood collection taking about 10 minutes.

All blood types are currently needed, with types O-positive and O-negative being the most in-demand. The most common blood type is O-positive, however, O-negative is known as the universal blood type and can be given to anyone in emergencies when the patient’s blood type is unknown.

Commit to 2 in ’22!

One way donors can help is in their frequency of donations. Healthy individuals are able to donate once every 56 days (eight weeks). While there are a number of repeat donors, Paltzer noted that “a lot of first-time donors, who we see at these blood drives, don’t come back.” Versiti is asking people to commit to at least two blood donations, or two pints, in 2022.

Mother-daughter duo Julie (left) and Alyssa Balch make appointments to give together every eight weeks in and around Kenosha. This picture was from the Masonic Lodge in downtown Kenosha in June, 2021. – Credit: Justin Kern / American Red Cross

Upcoming Donation Events

Want to get involved? Check out the following ways that you can help make a difference locally.

  • March 16 at St. Catherine’s H.S. (Racine) from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.
  • March 25 at Sozo Chiropractic (Kenosha) from 1:30 p.m. until 6 p.m.
  • April 5 at the Brat Stop (Kenosha) from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
  • April 7 at Great Lakes Church (Kenosha) from noon until 5 p.m.
  • April 15 at DayBreak Church (Kenosha) from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.
  • April 19 at the Racine Public Library from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.
  • April 19 at the Kenosha Masonic Center from from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.
  • May 5 at the REAL School (Racine) from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Donors can make an appointment for events at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Additional health information incentives for donors include finding out your blood type, a return to COVID antibody testing for a limited time, and, for self-identified African Americans, sickle cell trait screening.

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