New this year, the ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive took place at four locations: the 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the Drake Oak Brook Hotel, 2301 York Road, Oak Brook, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the Sullivan Community Center in the Vernon Hills Park District, 635 Aspen Drive, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Vernon Hills and our new location across state lines at the Performing Arts Center, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Indiana from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive is the largest one-day Red Cross blood drive in the country. The 2020 event collected a grand total of 1,866 units.
ABC 7 Eyewitness News Meteorologist Cheryl Scott and Hosea Sanders led ABC 7's coverage of blood drive events underscoring the critical need for blood and encouraging viewers to donate.
WATCH: Gov. JB Pritzker stops by Great Chicago Blood Drive
According to John Idler, President and General Manager, ABC 7, "As we embark on our 6th Blood drive with our Red Cross partners, it's gratifying to see how blood donations have increased each year, helping to save more lives in and around Chicago. The Great Chicago Blood Drive is an effort that makes us all proud."
Cheryl Scott is currently on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago & Northern Illinois. January is National Blood Donor Month.
WATCH: ABC7's Cheryl Scott interviews Red Cross CEO
Here are some of the stories ABC7 covered leading up to the drive that underscore why blood donation is so crucial.
1. Hosea kicked off ABC 7's coverage with Robin's Story. Robin was born with sickle cell anemia, but her family didn't realize she had the disease until age 2. Because of sickle cell, Robin missed a great deal of school as a child and had to repeat a grade. Doctors told her she may only live to be 20 years old but thanks to blood donations, she is now is 47!
2. Marie Fuesel of Orland Park was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. She received 98 transfusions of blood and platelets during her treatment and lost all her hair within 5 days of starting chemotherapy. Since finishing treatment, she is working to start organizing blood drives in her community to help pay it forward for all the blood products she received.
3. Cathy Cagle of Crystal Lake needed blood transfusions after almost losing her newborn baby and then her own life within days of each other. If it hadn't been for the blood on the shelves at the hospital, her postpartum hemorrhage may have been fatal.
"Blood collection is especially important in the winter months when donors' schedules fill up with travel and holiday plans," said Celena Roldán, chief executive officer of the Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross. "But patients don't get to take a winter break and the need is constant so by rolling up a sleeve to donate blood, you are giving the ultimate gift- the gift of life. We are so thankful to ABC 7 for continuing to support this piece of our mission."
WATCH: Donors share why they give blood
A successful blood drive on January 15 goes a long way to avoid a shortage this time of year and ensure that these and others patients have the blood products they need. Donors of all blood types are important at the drive, particularly O negative, A negative and B negative. Each day, the Red Cross needs about 13,000 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,500 hospitals across the country. The entire donation process takes about an hour. Everyone who attempts to donate will receive a commemorative T-shirt and refreshments.
Sign up to donate by clicking on this link and signing up for an appointment at the location of your choice. You can also sign up through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code ABC7CHICAGO. Eligible donors are encouraged to make an appointment to donate at the Red Cross Blood Drive, but walk-ins are also welcome. Donors can save time at their appointments by using Rapid Pass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
Appointments can be made by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App by visiting redcrossblood.org (enter sponsor code: ABC7Chicago) or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment prior to the drive or for more information. All blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health, may be eligible to donate blood.
Additionally, follow us on Facebook and on Twitter and share your blood drive photos with us using #ABC7BloodDrive.
For general information about giving blood, eligibility requirements etc., please go to: http://www.redcrossblood.org/.
Other media partners include iHeartMedia and Univision.