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Big need for blood donations in July

Updated: August 2, 2013 6:58AM

Heartland Blood Centers, a non-profit independent medical organization providing blood products to 49 Chicago-area hospitals, is asks healthy people to “roll up their sleeves” and give blood in July.

Current and prospective donors are asked to include donating blood or sponsoring a blood drive in their summer plans. Holidays, vacations, weddings, and other celebrations keep many regular donors from giving blood. If you have not yet made your summertime blood donation, you are urged to do so this month, Heartland said in a release.

Heartland has 17 center locations and blood drives open to the public seven days a week, making it convenient and easy to donate blood at any time of the year, the release said.

As a “thank you” to those who support the volunteer blood donor program, all donors who give blood in July will receive a certificate good for $7 in retail purchases at Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, compliments of Heartland Blood Centers.

This promotion recognizes and rewards blood donors who take time out of their busy summer schedules to donate blood at any Heartland center location or mobile blood drive. For the few communities not located near an Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Store, other “thank-you” gifts may be substituted. In addition, all blood donors who join Heartland’s “Warm Hearts” club by going to, will earn points toward premium gifts and gift cards of their choice, according to the release.

“Summertime it is historically the time of year when blood centers across the country struggle with their blood inventory levels. We are no exception,” said Dennis Mestrich, president and CEO of Heartland Blood Centers.

“Schools close for the summer, and workers go on vacation. This compounds our challenge to collect the blood needed to maintain safe and adequate blood inventories.”

Patients in the 49 area hospitals who rely on Heartland for all of their transfusion needs require more than 600 units every day for their surgery and treatment. After assuring that these patients’ blood needs are met, Heartland maintains a limited surplus supply of blood products on hand in order to respond to any local or national emergencies, the release said.

To be a blood donor, individuals must be at least 17 years old or 16 with written parental permission; weigh at least 110 pounds; be symptom free of cold, flu and allergies; and be in general good health. Donors who have traveled outside the United States within the past 12 months should contact Heartland at 1-800-7TO-GIVE to determine eligibility or visit

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