PEORIA — This summer, do something life changing for a patient in need. Roll up a sleeve, give blood and help ensure patients in the Peoria area and across the country receive blood products. Join the American Red Cross and students of East Peoria Community High School as they recruit donors, volunteer and donate blood Tuesday, June 27 from noon to 6 p.m. for the 11th annual Rock N’ Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive at the Peoria RiverPlex, 600 NE Water St. in Peoria.

Rock with the sounds of 105.7 FM (the X) as they broadcast live from noon to 2 p.m. All presenting donors will receive a coupon for one free pint of Culver’s Custard and will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win great prizes, while supplies last.

“There’s a powerful need for blood of all types. A single contribution will help save lives” said Tony Baker, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region. “We are so grateful to our generous donors who roll up a sleeve and give blood. There is no substitute for donated blood products, so get out there and give.”

Blood donations often decline during the summer months when busy summer schedules and vacation plans can cause some donors to be less available to give. Additionally, blood donations at high school and college blood drives, which account for as much as 20 percent of blood donations during the school year, decline when many schools are out of session. But, the need for blood remains constant.

Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals nationwide.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.