COLUMBIA, MO. — The American Red Cross along with actor James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly, have joined together to urge all who are healthy to make this a summer full of life for patients by scheduling an appointment to give blood or platelets.

As the nation transitions to a new, hopeful phase of this devastating pandemic and people begin to return to some of their favorite activities, the Red Cross is concerned about the impact this could have on blood donor turnout and the blood supply this summer. The need for lifesaving blood transfusions never takes a break. It’s critical to have blood ready to go when every second counts.

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The Van Der Beek family knows firsthand how important blood donations are in a health crisis. In the past year, Kimberly Van Der Beek experienced back-to-back pregnancy losses. Each time she needed emergency hospital care and blood transfusions to save her life.

“Donating blood is something that I’ve always done throughout my life,” said James Van Der Beek. “It seemed important. But I never knew how important until the woman I love most was in a situation where that much blood made the difference between life and death. It just brought it home in a very real way.”

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Hemorrhaging is the leading cause of pregnancy-related complications that can occur anytime during pregnancy. “In instances of severe bleeding, blood transfusions often play a lifesaving role,” said Dr. Ross Herron, divisional chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “For mothers with complicated pregnancies or deliveries, generous donors are the only source of the transfusions they may need to survive.”

“If you’ve never given blood before, allow this to be your formal invitation. Will you please give blood?,” added Kimberly Van Der Beek.

Individuals of all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment now to give blood, and in most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility. Appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

In thanks for making it a summer full of life, those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in May will automatically be entered for a chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps five*, powered by Suburban Propane, via their SuburbanCares initiative. The Red Cross is also thanking those who come to donate May 28-June 13 with a limited-edition T-shirt, while supplies last.

“Suburban Propane is honored to partner with the American Red Cross and actor James Van Der Beek on their summer campaign to help bring attention to the need for blood donations,” said Nandini Sankara, Spokesperson for Suburban Propane. “Our SuburbanCares corporate pillar highlights our continued dedication to giving back to our local communities and through this platform, we support a host of community outreach initiatives throughout the nation; including our national partnership with the American Red Cross. It is our hope that this promotion for a chance to win a travel (trailer) camper will encourage donors to show their support and to help fulfill the need for blood collection.”

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