If someone had told you in February that life as you knew it would be forever changed because a virus believed to have come from a foreign country would infiltrate and cripple ours, would you have believed them?

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These past few months have been so bizarre. People out of work, others overloaded with work. Strong, long-standing companies declaring bankruptcy, or closing completely. People who'd been healthy all of their lives suddenly being brought to their knees by illness.

Through all of the unexpected things that have plagued our community in recent times, one thing has remained constant: the need for blood.

Human blood isn't something that can be manufactured when the supply dips low. The only way to get blood into the body of a person who needs it is through donations made by someone else. You could be that someone else.

Worried that it isn't safe to donate blood through the American Red Cross? Actually, it is. According to the American Red Cross, "There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus."

Additionally, when you donate blood you can expect Red Cross employees to:

Wear gloves
Wipe down frequently touched areas
Use sterile tools
Check to make sure donors are healthy before allowing them to donate
Wear a mask
Follow social distancing
Thoroughly wash all blankets that donors use
Continually disinfect surfaces

If you've got about half an hour to spare, the American Red Cross will be holding several blood drives around the Southern Tier over the next few weeks and would greatly appreciate it if you'd consider donating.

Esperanza M. Gutierrez, Broome County Account Manager for the American Red Cross  Southern Tier Chapter and supplied us with the following information regarding upcoming Red Cross blood drives.

Friday, May 21: 10am – 3pm - Vestal Elks Lodge – 2071 Vestal Pkwy West, Vestal. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: VESTALELKS or call 1-800-733-2767.

Friday, May 21: 2pm – 7pm – Whitney Point United Methodist Church – Fellowship Hall – 7311 Collins St. Whitney Point. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: WPUMC or call 1-800-733-2767.

Friday, May 22: 11:30am – 4:30pm – American Red Cross – 365 Harry L. Drive, Johnson City. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: GIVEBLOOD or call 1-800-733-2767.

Tuesday, May 26: 1pm – 6pm – Glen Aubrey Fire Co. – 32 Octagon St. Glen Aubrey. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: GlenAubrey or call 1-800-733-2767.

Tuesday, May 26: 8:30am – 1:30pm- Chenango United Methodist Church 704 River Rd. Chenango. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: CHENANGOUMC or call 1-800-733-2767.

Wednesday, May 27: 2pm – 7pm - Church of the Nazarene – 1282 Chenango St. Binghamton. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: BINGNAZARENE or call 1-800-733-2767.

Friday, May 29: 11am -6pm 365 Harry L. Drive, Johnson City. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: LIFESAVERor call 1-800-733-2767.

Learn more about the American Red Cross Southern Tier Chapter, and about future blood drives here.