Memorial Blood Centers has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations. With hurricanes affecting blood donations in the southern United States and COVID-19, donors are urgently needed to help maintain a stable supply of blood.

Plus, September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell disease is the most common blood disease in the U.S. Patients need frequent blood transfusions and can suffer severe side effects from receiving blood from multiple donors. MBC is looking for eligible donors to enroll in the Sickle Cell Donor Program to match patients with specially typed donors. Learn more at mbc.org/sicklecell.

To help in the fight against COVID-19, the FDA has updated some eligibility guidelines and some donors who were previously deferred might now be eligible to give. Check eligibility and schedule an appointment at mbc.org or call 1-888-448-3253.

In general, donors are eligible if in good health, 17 years or older or 16 with written parental consent, at least 110 pounds, free of antibiotics for 24 hours, unless taken for preventative reasons, and symptom-free for at least 72 hours after a cold or flu.

MBC also continues to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma at all metro donor centers. Learn more at mbc.org/CPdonor.

Area blood drives include:

8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, St. Barnabus Lutheran Church, 15600 Old Rockford Rd., Plymouth

1:30-6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 7025 Halifax Ave. N., Brooklyn Center

3-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Rd., Maple Grove

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Waterford Office Park, 605 Hwy. 169 N., Plymouth

3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, Minnetonka United Methodist Church, 17611 Lake St. Ext., Minnetonka

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, Citizens Independent Bank, 5000 36th St., St Louis Park

Visit mbc.org or to make an appointment.

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