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Red Cross expects decline in blood and platelet donations

Southern Blood Services Region

December 12, 2013
 

The 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 made can help save up to three lives.

“Hospital patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood and platelets,” said Jerry J.K. Tillery, chief executive officer, American Red Cross Southern 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 got into a serious accident. As a result of her injuries, Kelsey needed type O negative blood, the “universal” donor type. Kelsey’s sister, Kenzie, said, “Without the help from those donors, my sister might not be alive today.” 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 make a recovery and say it is their way of giving back.

As a special “thank you,” all those who present to donate blood from Tuesday, Dec. 24, through Friday, Jan. 3, will receive a commemorative long-sleeve American Red Cross T-shirt. *

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. For more information or to make an appointment to give blood or platelets, please visit click here or call 1-800-RED CROSS(1-800-733-2767).

* While supplies last. Quantities and sizes may be limited.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or click here 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 who are 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.