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Christmas wish for the Red Cross: More blood
Local drives strive to increase donations
W Blood file photo
In this Herald file photo from 2008, a Red Cross worker comforts a Georgia Southern student as she gives blood. - photo by Herald File
    As people get busy during the holiday season, the donation of blood slows down. Tight schedules and winter time illness affects blood donations, which significantly reduces emergency blood supplies, said Nancy Martin, senior account manager for the Bulloch County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
    That's why she hopes citizens will take the time Wednesday to donate blood - " the best gift of all this season," she said. A blood drive will take place at Pittman Park United Methodist Church's fellowship hall on Wednesday from 2-7 p.m., she said. The blood drive is sponsored by the First United Methodist Church and Pittman Park United Methodist Church.
    "During the winter holiday season, blood donations often decline between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day due to holiday preparations and travel," she said. "But, the need for blood remains constant. It's important to take the time to give t he gift of life during these coming months."
    While all blood types are always needed, the most crucial need is for Type O, which Martin said is the " universal" type. Type O blood can be accepted by any blood type, and in cases of emergency, doctors can use Type O blood for transfusions without having to take time to determine a patient's blood type, she said.
    Type O "is the one blood type a hospital has to have every day," she said. But it's important for donors of other types to give blood, too.
    In order to be a blood donor, one must be in good health, be 17 years or older (16 with parental consent), and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors under 18 must also meet specific height and weight requirements, she said.
    "Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood," Martin said. "The Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 120 hospitals and must have 1,200 people give blood and platelets each week day to meet hospital demand."
    Those needing blood include accident victims, patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses, and these patients receive blood transfusions every day in order to live. "There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source," she said.
    Those who would like to donate blood Wednesday at the Pittman Park drive should sign up beforehand at the church, or schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543.)
    For more information on giving blood or on other blood drives, dial the same number of access Internet web site

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