CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 2024 ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive is coming up on January 17th and 18th. This is the 10th year ABC7 Chicago has partnered with the American Red Cross for the life-saving mission.
While the blood drive will take place over two days, the need for blood donors is year-round and constant. In fact, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood or platelets.
The Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the blood and blood components, nationwide. To meet the need, The Red Cross needs to collect more than 12,000 units of blood each day. Anything less than a five day supply of blood is considered "dangerously low."
Mark Thomas, Interim CEO of the Illinois Red Cross, said there are a couple of times a year, the holidays being one of those, where the blood supply does get a bit "challenged."
"We know that many people are traveling, enjoying their families, shopping, just doing all types of things during the holidays which keeps them quite busy," Thomas said. "And so, probably, donating blood is not something that is high on the priority list." But of course, the need for donations still exists, "We actually think it's a great time, for families to gather and talk about being thankful and giving back. And we often see people come in, first-time blood donors, are brought in by a family member that has donated in the past."
"About 25 percent of the blood that the American Red Cross collects is used for people that are suffering from cancer," Thomas said.
Blood is also needed for people undergoing surgery, people having babies and people that have chronic blood conditions, such as sickle cell disease. Blood cannot be stockpiled.
"So the shelf-life for a pint of blood is 42 days," Thomas said. "And the amount of time that a person can donate is every 56 days."
Thomas said many people don't realize that blood has such a short shelf-life.
This year's ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive will have seven locations in Chicago, the suburbs and Northwest Indiana over the course of two days.
People can register now to donate here. There's a special sponsor code: ABC 7 Chicago.
Thomas expects that they will also be able to take walk-ins. Still, he encourages people to make a reservation now to donate, so they will be guaranteed a time.