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Celebrate the Holidays by Helping Save Lives

Leroy Straight averages 20-24 visits per year to the Donor Center to give platelets.
Give something that means something this holiday season.

This holiday season, the American Red Cross asks individuals to give something that means something by giving a gift that can help save a life. Giving blood or platelets is a gift that offers hope to patients in need, and it doesn’t cost a thing.

The holiday season is typically a challenging time of year to collect blood. Even for regular donors, holiday travel and activities often conflict with donating. However, patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood and platelets. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a lifesaving transfusion.

Blood donors with all types, particularly O negative, A negative and B negative are urged to make a donation appointment this holiday season. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types A and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. Eligible donors with types O negative, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to donate double red cells where available.

Platelet donors are also encouraged to donate over the holiday season. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so it’s important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand.

To encourage people to donate over Thanksgiving, presenting blood and platelet donors from Nov. 26 through Nov. 30 will receive a Red Cross pot holder with unique recipes from celebrity chefs, while supplies last. It is a small token of appreciation from the Red Cross to go along with the feeling of helping to save lives, which is priceless.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most 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.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also check out the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.

There are many ways to give back this holiday season through the American Red Cross. The 2014 Holiday Gift Catalog is now available at redcross.org/gifts. The catalog offers a variety of symbolic, inspired gifts that allow donors to honor the special people in their life this holiday season. By donating to the Holiday Gift Catalog people can feel good knowing their gift will help people when they need it most.

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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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