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.”

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.

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



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.

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