Per Rock River Valley Blood Center:

ROCKFORD, Ill. (Feb. 10, 2020) – The busy cold/flu season has caused a critically low blood shortage at the Rock River Valley Blood Center, which saw a 20% decrease in walk-in traffic during January.

According to the Winnebago County Health Department website, local influenza cases have been steadily rising each week for the last six weeks. Emergency room visits for influenza-like illness have been four times higher than expected over the last four weeks. RRVBC saw a 40%increase in cancellations due to illness in the month of January.

“Donation appeals during an urgent need typically do not bring in new donors, but rather prompts repeat donors into action,” said Lisa Entrikin, CEO of the Rock River Valley Blood Center. “We are urging not only repeat donors to give blood, but also community members who have not donated to visit one of our donor centers or mobile drives to donate blood. It’s safe and simple, and one unit can save up to three lives.”

Donors can make appointments online at or by calling 815-965-8751. Walk-ins are also welcome.

The blood center needs to see 700 donors per week as the only provider of blood products and services to 10 regional hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin. Donations are typically down during the winter months for a variety of reasons, including severe weather and illnesses keeping people away.

If you’re a first-time donor, please bring a photo ID. You can donate whole blood every 56 days.

About Rock River Valley Blood Center

The Rock River Valley Blood Center is your community blood center and is the only provider of blood products and services to Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital-Rockton, Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital-Riverside, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, SwedishAmerican Hospital, SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center, SwedishAmerican Medical Center-Belvidere, Beloit Health System, Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, FHN-Freeport and Rochelle Community Hospital. The center has four convenient donor centers in Rockford, Belvidere and Freeport and the ability to support up to three mobile drives a day. The Rock River Valley Blood Center ensures that the right blood type is available at the right time for local patients whose lives may depend on it. Patients and their families rely on individuals to provide life-giving red blood cells, plasma, and platelets through blood donation.

General Information

  • The Rock River Valley Blood Center is the only provider of blood and blood products to 10 regional hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin. Donations meet local needs first.
  • RRVBC needs to see 700 donors per week to fulfill those needs.
  • There’s typically a decrease in donations during the winter months because:
    • People’s schedules are extra busy
    • Cold/flu season
    • Weather (cold/snow/ice keeps people away)
    • People are out of town or traveling for the holidays
  • There is no substitute for blood; generous donors are our only source.
  • About 70% of the general population is eligible to donate blood, and of that group, only 5% donate blood. That’s less than 4 people out of 100 who donate blood on a national average. For our community, we currently have only 3% of the local population supplying our community blood supply.
  • Blood is used for many reasons: treatment of accident victims, newborns and emergency transfusions; treatment of cancer patients, during organ transplants and other surgeries; during cardiac surgery, for burn victims and to treat patients with bleeding disorders.
  • In emergency situations, it can take up to 50 different donors to meet the needs of one patient.
  • Donating blood is safe and simple, and one unit can save up to three lives.
  • Here’s an overview of the process: After registering, a donor care specialist will take your vitals (temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin), you’ll complete an eligibility questionnaire, and then sit back and relax while you give. The donation itself only lasts about 10 minutes. Refreshments await after you’re done donating. Please plan on 60 minutes for your total donation visit.
  • Individuals can donate a single unit (whole blood donation, the most common type) every 56 days.

Locations and Contact Information:

  • RRVBC has four donor centers:
    • Headquarters/Downtown: 419 N. Sixth St., Rockford, IL 61107
    • Belvidere: 1740 S. State St., Belvidere, IL 61008
    • Perryville: 3065 N. Perryville Road, Rockford, IL 61114
    • Freeport: 461 E. South St., Freeport, IL 61032
    • More details such as hours can be found here.
  • The Center hosts mobile blood drives at various locations year-round. A list of mobile drives that are open to the public can be found here.
  • Website:
  • Phone: 815-965-8751 or 877-RRVBC-99 (877-778-2299)
  • Fax: 815-965-8756

Photography and B-Roll:

  • RRVBC never shows images of needles in photography or b-roll.
  • Be sure to use photos and b-roll from RRVBC and no other sources.
  • At the donor centers and blood drives, please ask permission of donors prior to filming or taking photos as written consents are not required.

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