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Blood Donors Share Reasons They Give a Gift That Means Something

Leroy Straight averages 20-24 visits per year to the Donor Center to give platelets.
As a mom with a busy family and tight finances, I choose blood donation as my charitable contribution.

Throughout this holiday season, the American Red Cross has been hearing from blood and platelet donors about why they roll up a sleeve to help save lives. Many of these people are regular donors who give all year long. Others choose to donate at just around the holidays; it’s their way of giving a gift that really means something. Hundreds of blood and platelet donors from all over the country have shared with us their reasons for donating. Here are just a few:

MARY (Woodstock, N.Y.) – After receiving blood in the past and thinking about donating, I finally did it today for the first time! It felt good to "give back" something I needed and got in the past. And, I like that it was on Thanksgiving eve. I urge anyone who can to donate!

SUSAN (Battle Ground, Wash.) – I believe in giving back to your community. Some people give cash donations to their favorite charity. Others spend time in food banks or working with the elderly. As a mom with a busy family and tight finances, I choose blood donation as my charitable contribution. Give how you can when you can.

ROSS (Lehi, Utah) – When someone sticks a huge needle in your arm and sucks your blood out, is there anything more manly than just sitting there like a boss? I think not!

SHARI (Madison, Wisc.) – My 2-year-old nephew, Nolan, was diagnosed with liver cancer. Nolan was in the hospital every other week while undergoing chemotherapy and he received many blood as well as platelet transfusions. I could not believe how the pink color would come back to Nolan's skin and he would physically and mentally perk up as he received the transfusions. At that time it really hit me how important it is to donate blood. I now donate blood to honor Nolan and his memory - Nolan touched my life in the 2 1/2 years he was with my family.

BOB (Muskogee, Okla.) – I have given blood and platelets several times because my wife was in an intensive care unit with a ruptured colon. During this time, she received over 55 pints of blood plus plasma and many other blood products. If others had not given to the Red Cross my wife would have died. Thanks to all those who gave so that she could live.

CARLA (Effingham, Ill.) – I’ve donated whole blood for many years. However, I didn't really know about the great need for platelet donations until my 14-year-old son started needing both blood and platelet transfusions due to a rare condition, aplastic anemia. This is a bone marrow failure disease that not many people have ever heard of, and it affects the white and red cells and also platelets. I'm lucky enough to be in good enough health myself to donate platelets and help other people like my son. He no longer requires any transfusion as he is in remission, but someone else's loved one can still benefit from my donation and I am happy to help. Hopefully it won't take having your own loved ones in need for you to become a donor. We appreciate everyone who takes the time to donate. Without selfless people like you, our son would've required lengthy hospitalizations and not much of a quality of life.

GIVE SOMETHING THAT MEANS SOMETHING The need for blood is constant. Families of cancer patients, accident victims and many others are counting on the generosity of volunteer blood donors. Platelet donors and blood donors of all types are needed, especially O negative, A negative, B negative and AB. Rh-negative blood types can potentially be transfused to both Rh-positive and Rh-negative patients. Type O negative blood is universal and can potentially be transfused to patients with any blood type, which is why it’s often used in emergency situations.

HOW TO GIVE For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in 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.

Tags: Blood 2013.
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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.