The American Red Cross currently has a critical need for blood donors of all blood types - especially type O - and platelet donors to make an appointment now to give and help replenish the blood supply after the holiday weeks. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of type O blood. To help tackle the critical need, the Red Cross and NFL are working together to offer one lucky winner a trip to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, about 500 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs. Many groups postpone blood drives during the winter holidays when travel and holiday activities may make it challenging for many donors to give. In fact, AAA estimated that a record 115.6 million Americans traveled during the holiday period of Dec. 21 through Jan. 1.

“Lifesaving medical treatments and emergencies never take a holiday,” said Paul Sullivan, senior vice president of Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Declines in donations can affect patient care. That’s why the Red Cross is encouraging eligible donors to make an appointment to give now and help those sidelined by illness and trauma.”

Donors are urged to make an appointment to give now using 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.

As a special thank-you, those who come to give blood or platelets now through Jan. 19, will automatically be entered for a chance to experience the Super Bowl live. The Red Cross and NFL have teamed up to offer one winner two tickets to Super Bowl LIV, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center, round-trip airfare to Miami, three-night hotel accommodations at The Alexander - All Suite Oceanfront Resort (Jan. 31 to Feb. 3), and a $500 gift card for expenses.* Additional details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl.

“The Red Cross appreciates the NFL’s support during this crucial time of year when every donation - and every donor - matters. We hope this may inspire some to make regular blood and platelet donation one of their New Year’s resolutions,” said Sullivan.

Who blood donations help

This fall, 13-year-old Josh Roy and his family learned the importance of blood donations firsthand. In October, Josh contracted a severe case of influenza B and necrotizing staph pneumonia. He was transported to the hospital, was put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine that circulates blood through an artificial lung and eventually needed a tracheostomy tube. Josh has received multiple blood transfusions during his treatment.

“You never know when someone you love might end up needing a blood transfusion,” said Jaqueline Bakehorn, Josh’s aunt. “We are so thankful for those who have given blood and would love to see more people donate.”

Josh is still hospitalized but is making slow, gradual progress. He faces a long road to recovery and may need additional blood transfusions along the way.

How to donate blood

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.

Blood and platelet donors can 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

*Terms and conditions apply. More information is available at RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl. Valid email address is required. Limit three entries per presenting donor. Winner will be selected and notified via the email listed in their American Red Cross donor profile on or around Jan. 24. Offer is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. Void where prohibited. Giveaway began Jan. 1, and ends Jan. 19. The prize shall not be sold on any internet site and any ticket that has been re-sold via the internet will be nullified. The National Football League’s licensed marks (“NFL”; “National Football League” and the NFL Shield design, “Super Bowl” and the Super Bowl LIV logo) on any giveaway related materials have been reviewed by NFL and are used with permission. The NFL Entities have not offered or sponsored this giveaway in any way.