With the holiday season underway, Cook County Health (CCH) urged local residents to help give the gift of life by donating blood.

On December 5, CCH held a blood drive at Stroger Hospital.

“The life of the body is in the blood. Blood donations not only improve lives but save lives,” said Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer, who also serves as the Vice Chair of CCH’s Board of Directors. “I am the recipient of a double lung transplant and it is certainly God’s grace and the blood donated that gave me a second chance. Please donate!”

Blood donations tend to decline during the holiday months due to busy schedules, weather and illnesses. However, the need for blood remains high. Cook County Health alone transfuses 800-900 units of blood products per month, helping patients who may need transfusions due to a surgery, cancer treatment, childbirth or a traumatic injury or burn.

Cook County Health partnered with Vitalant for Tuesday’s blood drive. While the health system is scheduling future blood drive dates, you don’t have to wait. Visit vitalant.org or call 877-258-4825 to find a blood drive.

“Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood,” said Donnica Austin-Cathey, Chief Hospital Executive for Stroger Hospital. “Cook County Health has a historic connection to the blood donation process, and we are honored to be able to help patients across the county with this blood drive.”

Cook County Health is home to the nation’s first blood bank. Dr. Bernard Fantus opened the blood bank at Cook County Hospital on March 15, 1937, after finding a way to preserve blood storage. Dr. Fantus’s work made it possible to get patients the blood they needed quicker and would make modern, lifesaving surgery possible.