Lambeau Field blood drive collects 328 pints

Written b Charles Davis  Press-Gazette

Sarah Kerbel, with her 5 month old son, Efrem.

Sarah Kerbel has never donated blood but is thankful others did.

That’s because during her first pregnancy she developed HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening condition that impacts pregnant women, usually during the third trimester. Kerbel required two units of platelets after her son was born eight weeks premature on June 17.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for the people that have donated,” the De Pere mom said Wednesday while holding her son Efrem, who will be five months old this weekend. “I’m obviously thankful for my family and life; and because of someone donating, I’m here to celebrate a Thanksgiving.”

In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of donating blood, Kerbel attended an American Red Cross blood drive on Wednesday at the Lambeau Field Atrium, 1265 Lombardi Ave. People who receive a blood transfusion must wait a year to donate, so Kerbel plans to donate blood for the first time next summer when she is medically cleared.

The blood drive lasted 12 hours and saw 328 pints of blood donated. Organizers had hoped to receive at least 350 pints of blood.

Last month’s Superstorm Sandy killed more than 110 people and caused the cancellation of 380 blood drives across the East Coast, which resulted in a shortage  of nearly 13,000 units of blood and platelets, said Bobbi Snethen, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region, which includes Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and eastern Iowa.

The greatest need is for O negative blood — which any patient can receive — followed by A and B negative blood types. O and A positive are the most common blood types, Snethen said.

The American Red Cross holds two blood drives at Lambeau Field each year, she said. This is the fourth year the Red Cross has partnered with the Green Bay Packers, and the event was held at the Legends Club Level.

In addition to donating blood, some people at Lambeau Field signed cards as part of the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program. The cards will be shipped to active duty soldiers and veterans for the holiday season.

cedavis@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @pgcharlesdavis.

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