CHICAGO (WLS) -- Want to save more lives with just one donation? Power Red donations to the Red Cross maximize your blood donations to help more patients.
Donate blood, save a life. The usual catch phrase you hear but Power Red donations can help save more patients in one visit.
"Power Red is an automated process where donors come to donate. Rather than donating the whole blood they just donate red cells. The way the machine works is it takes out the red cells and puts them in a centrifuge. Takes the red cells out, then puts the plasma and platelets along with some extra fluids back into your body. So that it will replenish the fluids that you just donated," said Raul Mora, Manufacturing Director of Chicago Hospital Services Department.
Red cells are the most common transfused blood component. They are used for traumas, emergencies, transplants and women who are having difficulty giving birth and those who are anemic.
Gerry Holmes is a Power Red donor and volunteer for the Red Cross. He says the extra time it takes to donate is worthwhile.
"I like the concept of serving twice as many people with a donation. I tried it and it was fine so this will be my third shot at it," said Holmes. "Power Red takes a little longer, about 15-20 minutes for the single. It makes it well worthwhile to donate. I feel good about being able to do that. It takes no effort to grow the blood, it comes naturally so I'm willing to share."
It's exactly that attitude that Red Cross needs with the winter months.
"During the winter months it's really difficult to get donors to come out and donate. Whether it be the weather or whether you come down with the seasonal flu or whatever it may be. So with the double red we actually get two red blood cells during one donation," said Mora.
The American Red Cross said O positive, A negative, B negative and O negative are the blood types needed the most for Power Red, but of course all donations are encouraged.
A reminder that the ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive is coming up on January 9, but right now is the time to register. The drive will be held at a new location downtown at the Hyatt Regency. The second location is once again at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel.
You can make an appointment right now for the blood drive by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.