ROCHESTER, Minn. - While donating plasma is important, there is also the need for blood donations. People in Rochester are rolling up their sleeves to show support for first responders. In the last several months, there's been a noticeable lack of people coming in. Likely due to people not wanting to expose themselves to others during this pandemic, but it's not stopping the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive.
Battle of the Badges is a friendly competition that encourages the community to donate blood, while also putting their donation behind local first responders. The participating teams are Ambulance, Rochester Fire Department and Law Enforcement. Dr. Justin Kreuter said this is a great way to partner with first responders and show support for them. "The work that our first responders are doing and we're grateful that they're willing and excited about partnering for this, for another very important cause for our community that is," explained Dr. Kreuter. "Having a blood supply here local, for our patients in the hospital, for any of us that are gonna need it in acute medical need."
Dr. Justin Kreuter said the ability to have the blood donor program helps the community not face any blood shortages, but that doesn't mean donors won't run out in the future. He explained if blood donations aren't readily available, that hinders the ability to care for patients. He said the usual ones keep coming back like normal, but this competition is also bringing in new donors. "With these sorts of blood drives, with Battle of the Badges, we see a lot more new donors that we've never seen before," said Dr. Kreuter. "That really gives me hope that we're gonna get through this as this marathon is for our community."
The Blood Donor Program isn't taking walk-ins right now, so you have to make an appointment if you would like to donate. Battle of the Badges runs through the end of September. The center is located in the Hilton Building downtown.