Red Cross expects decline in blood and platelet donations during holiday week
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —The American Red Cross typically sees a decline in donations during the winter holiday season. Individuals can help the Red Cross and hospital patients this month, while discovering the true meaning of the season, by giving a generous gift of a blood or platelet donation. Each donation can help save up to three lives.
“Hospital patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood and platelets,” said Marci Manley, spokesperson for the Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region. “The closer we get to the major holiday week, the more we see donations decline. People are busy with gift shopping, holiday parties and there is an overall sense of distraction. We need donors to come in and give before they get too busy with other things.”
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. On average, the Red Cross must collect 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Blood donations are used to treat cancer patients, trauma victims, premature babies and those living with chronic blood diseases each and every day, patients like Kelsey Harris.
Kelsey Harris — a star athlete, attentive student and teenage driver — was on her way to school when she was involved in a serious accident. As a result of her injuries, Kelsey needed type O negative blood, the universal donor type.
“Without the help of blood donors, my sister might not be alive today,” said Kenzie Harris, Kelsey’s sister.
Nearly all of Kelsey’s family members are type O negative donors, and they regularly give blood together. They are grateful for the donors that helped Kelsey recover and say donating blood is their way of giving back.
For more information or to make an appointment to give blood or platelets, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
As a special thank you, all those who present to donate blood from Dec. 24, 2013, through Jan. 3, 2014, will receive a commemorative long-sleeve T-shirt, while supplies last.
Blood donors are encouraged to invite a loved one to follow in their footsteps and donate blood this holiday season. Visit http://rcblood.org/HolidayPostcard to upload a picture of your Red Cross blood donation and send a postcard to a loved one.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.
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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.