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Red Cross expects decline in blood and platelet donations

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:40 PM

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 Tim Ryerson, CEO Tennessee Valley 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 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 redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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

 Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Jan. 8 and 9 from 3-8 p.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1004 Woodridge Place, Mt. Juliet

Jan. 13 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Kroger in Lebanon, 1418 West Main St.

Jan. 20 from noon-4 p.m., Wilson County Veterans Building, 945 E. Baddour Parkway

Jan. 27 from 3-7 p.m., Maple Hill Church of Christ, 102 Maple Hill Rd., Lebanon

Jan. 30 from 12:30-6 p.m., Immanuel Baptist Church, 214 Castle Heights Ave., Lebanon

 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 who are 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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