Nickie Shenk

Donor Nickie Shenk at the blood drive at St. Matthew’s Parish Center gives blood last Tuesday.

The Red Cross holds around 500 blood drives every day. One person’s donation could potentially save up to three lives and every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.

About every 56 days, the Red Cross makes a trip to Sidney for a blood drive. They are here in January, March, June, August and October. It used to be difficult to find donors in Sidney, but that’s no longer the case.

“Sidney is one of our larger draws we do and it has grown immensely,” said Red Cross supervisor Leann Hedstrom. “It used to be a draw that struggled to get 50 donors and now our projections are up in the 70s and 80s.”

Hedstrom, who has been coming to Sidney for draws for 14 years, said that in January they got 96 units of blood and in March they had 82. Those numbers reflect 101 and 103 people donating blood, respectively.

“There are criteria they have to pass. Their hemoglobin has to be high enough, their blood pressure has to be in range, their pulse has to be in range and there’s health history questions they have to answer,” Hedstrom said.

All of those factors determine whether or not a person can donate blood. All of the phlebotomists drawing blood at the drive are Red Cross employees. Hedstrom said the people handling food and checking people in were volunteers. Those ladies are responsible for growing this draw to its current level.

Halvorson and Nancy Hedegaard are the coordinators for the Sidney blood drives and have been for quite some time.

“We advertise with the Sidney Herald, the Roundup and on two radio stations in the area,” Hedegaard said.

Hedegaard and Halvorson said they also hang posters at their church to promote the events, along with the Red Cross sending out post cards.

Sidney typically gets a lot of appointments for donating blood whereas a lot of other places tend to get more walk-ins.

“We have 83 appointments scheduled for today, but we have room for 100,” Hedegaard said. There are walk-in spots available too.

Another blood drive is scheduled in Sidney for Tuesday, Aug. 20. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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