Hays Post, Jan. 14, 2021 – Read the original article

Recently, the American Red Cross and the Hays High School JAG-K (Jobs for America’s Graduates – Kansas) Program hosted the Ellis County Battle of the Badges blood drive.

This year the drive ran Dec. 30 through Jan. 3. Results were exceptional with 146 blood donations collected at the drive.

During the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive, Ellis County first responders compete to see who can recruit the most blood donors. This year’s participants are listed below:

• Hays Fire Department
• Ellis County Rural Fire Department
• Ellis County Emergency Medical Services
• City of Hays Police Department
• Ellis County Sheriff Department
• Fort Hays State University Police Department

Everyone who came to give could cast a vote to determine who won this year’s bragging rights. While the count was very close, during a virtual presentation Jan. 11 at Hays High School, law enforcement agencies were presented with a trophy for collecting 50 donations. 

“Year after year our community’s first responders continue their commitment to ensuring a stable blood supply and helping with blood collection during the winter months,” said Sherry Dryden, Red Cross executive director serving Central and Western Kansas. “Even in the middle of the pandemic, the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive continued. This blood drive was an important way for Ellis County residents to support these local heroes and help save a life by giving blood. And, with the help of our JAG-K students, the community overwhelmingly responded.”

JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades seven through 12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG career specialist helps them overcome through a nationally accredited, evidence-based model.

To make an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross,  download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

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.

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.

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.