During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to band together to provide hope and healing to patients fighting cancer by giving blood or platelets.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities include: 

• Friday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at North Conway Community Center, 78 Norcross Circle, in North Conway.

• Thursday, Oct. 22, 1-6 p.m. at the Masonic Hall on Harrison Road (Route 117) in Bridgton, Maine.

• Friday, Oct. 23, noon-4:30 p.m. at the Moultonborough Lions Club, 139 Old Route 109A in Moultonborough.

• Friday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at North Conway Community Center, 78 Norcross Circle, in North Conway.

Donors are asked to make appointments by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor app, going to redcrossblood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff — have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

In appreciation, those who come to give Oct. 15-Nov. 11 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. To thank those who come to give in October, the Red Cross is also offering a $1,000 Amazon.com Gift Card to five lucky winners (details are available at redcrossblood.org/unite).

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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

Important COVID-19 information for donors

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms.

Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

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