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Posted: December 15, 2009 4:40 p.m.

Red Cross looking for blood donors to give this holiday season to offset shortage

The holidays are a time to spend with loved ones, and a time to reflect.

People donate blood because they care. People donate blood because they want to help save lives. But most importantly, people donate blood because they can. Thousands of people donate blood in our area each year, and their generous gift has helped save countless lives. With every donation, there's always a reason behind it. So this winter, the American Red Cross is asking blood and platelet donors, "Why Do You Give?"

During the winter holiday season, blood donations often decline between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day due to holiday preparations and travel, but the need for blood remains constant. It's important to take the time to give the gift of life during these coming months.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. The Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to more than 120 hospitals and must have 1,200 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand.

Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

The Red Cross encourages people who are in good health to donate so that hospital patients have the blood or platelets they need to make a full recovery. Blood is needed to help treat a variety of patients including accident victims and individuals undergoing surgery and cancer treatment.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Most healthy people age 17 and older, or 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

For more information or to locate a nearby blood drive, please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (448-3543) or visit RedCrossBlood.org.


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