Blood donation (148423)
Credit: Image by Robert DeLaRosa from Pixabay

During Red Cross Month in March, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to join in its lifesaving mission by giving blood. Since 1943, every U.S. president has designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the Red Cross helps people down the street, across the country and around the world.

Red Cross Month is a celebration of the everyday heroes, such as Karla Essmiller, who are the face of the Red Cross in their communities. Essmiller began donating blood and even coordinated a few blood drives when she was in college.

“Donating blood is a simple gift that I can make that may help up to three people live another day,” she said. “That makes me feel like a hero!”

The Red Cross depends on blood donor heroes across the nation to collect enough blood to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide. Donors of all blood types are needed to help accident and burn victims, patients undergoing organ transplants, those receiving cancer treatments and others who rely on blood products.

Make an appointment to become a hero to patients in need by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in the New York area include:

  • March 3: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., American Red Cross in Greater New York, 520 W. 49th St.

  • March 4 : 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, 35-12 35th Ave., 2nd Floor, Queens, Astoria

  • March 7: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., American Red Cross in Greater New York, 520 W. 49th St.

  • March 8: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Brooks Brothers, 346 Madison Ave.

  • March 9: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., American Red Cross in Greater New York, 520 W. 49th St.

  • March 10: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., American Red Cross in Greater New York, 520 W. 49th St.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally 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.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online on the day of their donation prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.