Location out of bounds

Save Lives, Donate Blood

Illinois blood donors needed today. Find a donor center and learn how you can help save lives in our community.

Schedule Now
Why Donate Blood?

Illinois blood donors needed today. Find a donor center near you, and learn how you can help save lives in our community.

There is no substitute for blood. It is precious. It is perishable. And the need for it is vital. Each year, nearly 21 million units of red blood cells, plasma and platelets are transfused in the United States. For the hospital patients that need them, these are lifesaving gifts only volunteer donors can provide.

Sign up now to give the life-saving gift of blood donation, and help out Illinois hospital patients in need.

Schedule Now

Donation Process

  • How long does it take to give blood?

    The process for whole blood donation usually takes about one hour. The blood collection itself is usually about 10 minutes. The donation process includes registration, a brief medical screening, blood collection and refreshments. Expect to spend about 1 1/2 hours for apheresis (platelet, red cells) collections.

  • How long until my blood is used?

    All blood donations are processed and available for use between 24 and 48 hours following donation. Whole blood is processed into components (red cells, platelets, plasma). After processing, the red cells can be stored for 42 days. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to 12 months. Platelets (from whole blood or by apheresis) expire after five days.

  • How often can I donate blood?

    Time restrictions between blood donations are placed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to keep you safe. You can donate whole blood every 56 days. You can donate more frequently if you donate platelets or plasma. You can donate red cells every 16 weeks.

  • I’m afraid of needles. Does giving blood hurt?  

    Giving blood does not hurt. You might feel a pinch when the needle itself first goes into your arm. During that pinch, think about the patient –– maybe a young child, mother, or a grandparent –– who is counting on your donation. You may experience discomfort for a few seconds, but you’ll have the lasting reward of knowing you saved a life.

Eligibility

  • Can I donate blood if I take medications?

    Most medications will not defer you from donating blood. Before you make an appointment, however, check our medication deferral list.

    If you are currently taking antibiotics, you are eligible to donate two days after your course of treatment is complete.

  • How often can I donate?

    Time restrictions between blood donations are placed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to keep you safe. You can donate whole blood every 56 days. You can donate more frequently if you donate platelets or plasma. You can donate red cells every 16 weeks.

  • What about my health history?

    There are a few additional conditions that may prevent you from donating, including:

    • Receiving any blood transfusions in the last 12 months
    • A history of hepatitis B or C
    • High risk for HIV or AIDS
    • If you've ever taken Tegison
    • If you've ever injected illegal drugs
  • Can I donate if I've traveled to foreign countries?

    The short answer is yes. There are some exceptions, though:

    • If you lived in Europe in the '80s and/or '90s (risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease)
    • Countries where malaria is prevalent
  • Who may donate blood?

    Generally, anyone in good health can donate. Make sure you do not have a cold, flu or sore throat at the time of donation. For more information visit our Am I Eligible section.

  • Can I donate if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Pregnant women are not eligible to donate blood - your body needs all the nutrients it can get! We recommend speaking with your doctor at your 6-week checkup after your baby is born and verifying whether or not it is OK for you to start donating blood again.

    Women who are breastfeeding are eligible to donate. Most say that eating a healthy meal and staying hydrated helps ensure a successful donation.

  • I have tattoos and/or piercings. Can I donate?

    As long as your tattoo or piercing has healed and was done at a state-licensed facility, yes. If your tattoo or piercing was not done at a state-licensed facility, you must wait 12 months before attempting to donate.

Melissa Fortino

Melissa Fortino

Blood Donors Save Lives

Melissa Fortino, Blood Donor


Through blood donation, Melissa hopes to save lives and inspire more young people to give the gift of life.

Melissa has type O negative blood, which is the universal blood type that can be safely received by all patients.

“When I learned about how few people with O negative blood donate and how it goes to help trauma patients, that’s when I started donating,” said Melissa.

When one of Melissa’s friends was diagnosed with cancer and needed platelets for their treatment, Melissa began donating platelets every two weeks. Driven by her friend’s battle to survive, Melissa hopes to inspire others to help patients in need through the life-saving act of blood donation.

We have to support each other as a community. We can help save lives,” said Melissa.

Mitch Arnold

Mitch Arnold

Mitch Arnold, Cancer Survivor and Blood Recipient


When he was 10 years old, Mitch was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. During three years of treatment, he received 37 units of whole blood and platelets as he went into remission. However, in 2017, Mitch relapsed and received a bone marrow transplant that helped save his life.

Today, Mitch is cancer-free and is making the most of his second chance. He is thankful for the generosity of blood and marrow donors and hopes that new discoveries in research and treatment can help more patients like him beat cancer.

If people didn’t donate blood, then I wouldn’t be here today,” says Mitch. “Now, my vision for cancer treatment is to cure kids and adults less aggressively.”

Impact Stories

Linkin Eger

Linkin Eger

Nine-year old Linkin Eger is no stranger to the up-hill battle with cancer, but blood donors have provided precious gifts to help Linkin thrive.

View Story
Elodi Ontala

Elodie Ontala

Born with sickle cell disease, Elodie has stayed strong and active thanks to the generosity of blood donors.

View Story
Misty Welch, and her family holding a picture of baby Dalton.

Misty Welch

Versiti Blood Center of Indiana’s Misty Welch had always wanted a son and when she was expecting a baby boy, it was a dream come true. However, their dream quickly turned into a nightmare. Read her story.

View Story
x

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more