Blood Donation Surges in April After Collaboration with Peanuts

Sean Wu // The Watchdog

During April, the American Red Cross and PEANUTS collaborated to encourage blood donations. Anyone who donated blood between April 1 and April 23 received an exclusive Red Cross and Peanuts t-shirt featuring the beloved Snoopy as Joe Cool and the phrase, “Be cool. Give blood.” Donors were also entered into a drawing for a three-night trip to Sonoma County, California to visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Snoopy’s Home Ice.

This promotion prompted an immediate increase in blood donations. During the second week of April, Darren Irby, executive director of national brand partnerships at the American Red Cross, said that blood donations rose “by more than 40 percent compared to the week before the “Peanuts” partnership.” 

He also noticed many of these donors were young people and first time donors. Young people took to social media to show off their cool new shirts, which led to their countless TikToks going viral. Cathy Chang, a TikTok user who goes by “@uh…o_o”, made a video of her shirt on April 5 and the video has since received over a million likes and over 5 million views.

Irby said “it’s been really great to see so many young folks so fired up by this particular partnership” and that it has been reflected in the Red Cross’s web traffic on their appointment page. He described that in the first few days of the promotion, “[web traffic] is up 50 percent versus our six month running averages” and “organic search is up 600 percent.” 

The Red Cross regularly offers monthly promotions and incentives for blood donors to combat blood shortages. In 2022, the Red Cross faced its worst blood shortage in over 10 years affecting the whole nation, as they supply about 40 percent of the nation’s blood. The Red Cross was prompted to work with Peanuts because of their cross-generational appeal. The beloved brand has been around for over 70 years in newspapers, specials, series and movies. 

To donate, visit their website to schedule an appointment. Near Bellevue College, there are donation locations in Lake Hills, Redmond, Sammamish, Seattle and Mercer Island. There are multiple different types of donations: whole blood, platelet, plasma-only and power red. Each has slightly different requirements, processes and lengths. Most require donors to be at least 16, weigh at least 110 pounds and typically take around an hour. 

Before your appointment, be hydrated, be well rested and eat iron-rich foods like red meat, poultry, beans and spinach. When donating platelets, make sure not to take aspirin for two days leading up to the appointment. On the day of, bring a driver’s license or two forms of identification and know what current medications you are taking. After the donation, it is recommended that you drink extra liquids, eat iron-rich foods and refrain from heavy exercise. 

If you’re sick, have low iron, have traveled to a malaria-risk country or take certain medications, you may be unable to donate. If you’re unable to donate blood or are interested in other ways to help, be sure to check out the volunteering opportunities offered by the Red Cross.