The Coast News Group
The American Red Cross is hosting its annual January blood drive in recognition of National Blood Donor Month. Courtesy photo
The American Red Cross is hosting its annual January blood drive in recognition of National Blood Donor Month. Courtesy photo
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Red Cross ramps up blood drives with Super Bowl LVII prize

REGION — As blood donations and supplies hit critically low levels, January blood drives come at the right time for the American Red Cross, especially in the San Diego region.

The San Diego chapter is pushing hard to encourage residents to donate blood or platelets to meet demand, according to Dana Simmons, the regional communications manager for Southern California.

Nationwide, the Red Cross is partnering with the NFL and Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning in January for National Blood Donor Month, aiming to obtain a three to five-day supply. All donors through Jan. 31 will be automatically entered to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVII in Phoenix.

“January is also a time where it’s harder to collect blood,” Simmons said. “The partnership with the NFL is something we’ve done in previous years and is a nice incentive for donors. The other incentive is when you donate; you get to leave feeling good and helping other people.”

Simmons said supplies are low due to several factors, including bad weather, canceling donation drives, holiday travel and illnesses. Hundreds of drives were canceled after a series of severe storms rolled across the country. In San Diego, the storms have mostly passed and the Red Cross is pushing hard to get donors.

“The blood supply can dwindle quickly when there are cancellations in a short period of time,” she said. “It’s forced 10,000 donations to go uncollected. Unfortunately, that’s just one of the things we’re facing with winter weather and seasonal illness.”

The Red Cross has set up donation sites in cities across North County, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Solana Beach. The Red Cross also has a fixed location in Kearney Mesa and several other sites in San Diego and South Bay.

A demand for CPR, AED

In general, Simmons said the Red Cross has seen an increase in the use of CPR and automated external defibrillators, or AED, especially after the harrowing incident involving Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest after colliding with another player in a Jan. 2 Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle and team doctors administered lifesaving CPR and used an AED to shock his heart before rushing him to a Cincinnati hospital. According to media reports, Hamlin’s condition is improving.

“Our hearts go out to him, his teammates and his family,” Simmons said. “Another side of collecting blood is people are reaching out about CPR. So it’s something that’s top of mind.”

Simmons said the Red Cross offers online and in-person CPR and AED courses and certifications.

A typical donation takes about one hour for blood and two hours for platelets. Donors are encouraged to arrive hydrated, fed and well rested. Simmons recommends prospective donors register through the Red Cross’ website, app or call 1-800-733-2767.

North County donation sites

Cardiff by the Sea
Jan. 16: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Encinitas Elks Lodge 2243, 1393 Windsor Road
Jan. 25: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1444 Lake Drive

Jan. 11: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Shoppes at Carlsbad, 2525 El Camino Real
Jan. 17: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Westin Carlsbad Resort and Spa, 5480 Grand Pacific Dr.
Jan. 23: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, 5934 Priestly Dr.
Jan. 24: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., North Coast Church Carlsbad Campus, 2310 Camino Vida Roble, #104

Jan. 10: 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive
Jan. 22: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Best Buy, 1046 N. El Camino Real
Jan. 31: 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Best Buy, 1046 N. El Camino Real

Jan. 15: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., The Universal Church, 300 N Broadway
Jan. 21: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Escondido East Valley Community Center, 2245 East Valley Parkway
Jan. 29: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Westfield North County, 272 E. Via Rancho Pkwy
Jan. 31: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Escondido Police Department, 1163 N. Centre City Parkway

Jan. 17: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fallbrook Library, 124 South Mission Rd
Jan. 25: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1620 S Stage Coach Lane

Jan. 12: 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Oceanside Masonic Center, 511 Eucalyptus
Jan. 12: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Oceanside Masonic Center, 511 Eucalyptus
Jan. 17: 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Oceanside Police Department, 3855 Mission Ave
Jan. 19: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Oceanside, 3501 Seagate Way
Jan. 19: 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., El Camino High School, 400 Rancho Del Oro
Jan. 26: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Oceanside Masonic Center, 511 Eucalyptus

Jan. 14: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Community Church of Poway, 13501 Community Rd

San Marcos
Jan. 13: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., The Lodge at Lake San Marcos, 1105 La Bonita Dr
Jan. 18: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Rock Church, 1370 W San Marcos Blvd
Jan. 19: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., City of San Marcos, 3 Civic Center Drive

Solana Beach
Jan. 13: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Solana Beach Library, 157 Stevens Avenue