CHICAGO - Donating blood saves lives, but where does blood go after it's donated?
No matter what the blood type -- A, B, A-B or O - the Red Cross sends donated blood to its blood bank.
"Once the blood drive is over they will put everything together from the blood drive, all the blood that is collected, I will put it in all the boxes and then bring it back to the center here, " said Raul Mora, manufacturing director for the Red Cross.
But they don't stay for long. Those extra tubes of blood taken during the donation process are sent to Peoria for testing.
"When it's a go, all the results come to the quarantine and labeling lab. What they will do is take all the products that did not make the testing they'll will segregate those and either discard them or send them for more confirmatory testing. The products that are deemed usable are then labeled," Mora said.
Once labeled, they are stored at specific temperatures to make sure donations remain viable for use. Plasma is frozen right away giving to give it up to a one-year expiration date. Meanwhile, red cells are only usable for up to 42 days, but they rarely last that long.
"Right now the inventory is so low we may only hold those units for 2-3 days before they are sent out to the hospitals for transfusion. On good times, when we have a good adequate inventory we will store these products for up to 42 days and will probably use them in the first 2-3 weeks," Mora said.
Seasonal illnesses and winter holidays cause donations to drop. So right now is the perfect time for you to give the gift of life.
The ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive will be held Jan. 9 at two locations -- Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago and Drake Oak Brook Hotel.
Make an appointment for the blood drive by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.