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Local blood centers are in critical need of donors after high cases of the flu are reported

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Local blood centers are seeing a dramatic decrease in donors due to flu cases making rounds. Now, all blood types are in short supply.

The Rock River Valley Blood Center and the American Red Cross are encouraging those who are able to roll up a sleeve to save lives this winter.

From A positive to B positive to O negative, everyone has a blood type. But when it comes to donating blood not everyone does.

"People need our blood and lot more people are needed to be doing this," said donor and Rockford Resident Donnie Bergquist.

"Yet, only three percent of the population actually gives blood," said American Red Cross External Communications Officer Laura McGuire.

According to the RRVBC, out of the 500 thousand people it serves only 16 thousand donated blood last year.

"If people would donate one time, they just come in one time a year, we'd never have a blood shortage," said RRVBC Director of Operations Heidi Ognibene.

But with high flu cases this season donors are dropping out at even higher rates because they are too sick themselves to donate.

"On Monday, we had 40 confirmed appointments to come in to our blood center here on Sixth Street and only 14 people were able to make it," said Ognibene.

For Donnie Bergquist however, his mission remains the same every year.

"I donate whenever I get the call that they need my blood or I try to still do it at least three to four times a year," said Bergquist.

It takes about an hour to give blood with one donation being able to save up to three lives.

The Red Cross says the need for blood never stops especially for cancer patients.

"Patients fighting cancer use nearly one quarter of the nations blood supply and that's really more than patients fighting any other disease," said McGuire.

That's why the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society are teaming up in "Give Blood to Give Time."

Both blood centers are encouraging to give a piece of your heart this Valentine's Day.

"Chocolates are great gifts but you know really think about giving the gift of life which is blood," said McGuire.

"Somebody else may live because of the blood that you have. That's huge, huge," said Bergquist

To donate and learn more information about "Give Blood to Give Time" or how to volunteer at the American Red Cross click here.

You can find blood drives, donation times and locations for the Rock River Valley Blood Center here.

Cassandra Bretl

Multimedia Journalist
Cassandra is the morning reporter for 13 News Today.
She joined the WREX team in July of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a major, minor and a certificate.
She is excited to bring her skills back to the 815 where she is originally from.
You can contact Cassandra at

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