CHICAGO (WLS) -- According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
That's why ABC7 and the American Red Cross are teaming up for the ninth year of the Great Chicago Blood Drive.
It's taking place Jan. 11 and Jan. 12 at seven locations across Chicago, the suburbs and Northwest Indiana. So far, sign ups for the drive lag behind last year, but we're hoping with your help, we can improve those numbers.
Celena Roldán, CEO of the Red Cross of Illinois said "The winter weather we saw over the last couple of weeks really did create a serious situation for the American Red Cross. Over 6,000 units of blood were not collected due to the cancellation of blood drives."
That makes it even more important for people to take part in the Great Chicago Blood Drive. Anyone 17 years or older can donate. The same goes for someone who is 16 with parental consent. Donors must also weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health.
"The Red Cross needs to collect about 12,500 blood donations to meet the needs of the 2,500 hospitals that are counting on blood donations," said Roldán.
The Red Cross said donated blood may be used to help accident victims, surgery patients, organ transplant patients and those being treated for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. And, there is no substitute.
Dr. Michael McGee is an emergency room physician and CEO of Premier Urgent Care In Hyde Park. He's worked to encourage more Black donors, saying it's especially important for sickle cell patients.
"They develop antibodies where the average person can't donate blood, they're not a match," said McGee. "And so we just want to encourage Black people to go out and donate blood just so they can go out and donate to sickle cell patients."
The two-day Great Chicago Blood Drive event is scheduled for January 11th and 12th at seven Chicago area locations. You can sign up for an appointment here.