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Burn Boot Camp Sun Prairie, located at 137 S. Bristol St., will host an American Red Cross Blood Drive from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Donors with all blood types are needed but especially O negative, A negative and B negative.

Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather, and illness. Winter months, in particular, are difficult for blood centers to collect blood donations. A reduction in turnout can put the nation’s blood inventory at a critical low.

Every day, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, those battling cancer, organ transplant recipients, premature babies with complications, sickle cell disease patients, and others.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. On average, the American Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

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—Wisconsin allows 16 year olds with parental permission—weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

A donor may donate whole blood every 56 days and double red cells every 16 weeks.

If unsure of eligibility, do not hesitate to stop at the Blood Drive. Red Cross staff is eager to help and answer any questions. To schedule an appointment call 1 800 RED CROSS (1 800 733 2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

Walk-ins are certainly welcome, although there may be a short wait.

The process for whole blood donation usually takes about an hour. The blood collection itself is usually about ten minutes. Expect to spend about 1 1/2 hours for a double red cells donation.

RapidPass streamlines the donation experience by allowing donors to complete pre donation reading and health history questions online from the convenience of a computer at home or work. Using RapidPass can reduce the time a donor spends at a drive by up to 15 minutes.

Eating a full meal before donating will help the donor feel strong afterwards. Drinking water and juices before and after donating also helps the body replenish lost fluids. A potential donor employed in a hazardous or strenuous position should wait until the end of a work shift before donating.

Donating blood is completely safe. A donor cannot contract any diseases from donating blood because a sterile kit is used once and thrown away. Red Cross staff is committed to the safety and comfort of donors.

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