The perfect holiday gift doesn’t require dashing for bargains, waiting in long lines or navigating through crowds of shoppers. Instead, why not give a gift that really means something? Giving blood or platelets through the American Red Cross is a gift that can help save a life, or give someone in need additional time to spend with loved ones.
Ever since Kayla Landsberger was a little girl, her grandmother Brenda was her hero. Kayla relied on her, looked up to her and aspired to be her. Then, devastation hit. Just a few months ago, Brenda was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia – a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
Kayla wanted to help in some way, and when she found out about a blood drive on her campus at West Virginia University, she decided to volunteer. Just being there was a big step for Kayla, who is terrified of needles. While she was handing out refreshments and talking to student donors, Kayla decided to take an even bigger step – roll up her sleeve and donate in honor of her hero.
“As I began psyching myself up to give, the fear was pulsing through my body, but then I remembered my grandmother has always been afraid of needles,” said Kayla. “For someone who has gotten hundreds of shots, regular transfusions and a myriad of things needle-related, she never complains. I could definitely sit with a needle in my arm.”
Kayla calls it a life-changing experience for her…and a day she will never forget.
“I know that soon I will lose my grandmother to this monster of a disease, but knowing that I can help others with different types of cancer survive, I feel like I am giving back to the world in her honor.”
Now is a wonderful opportunity to roll up a sleeve and donate through the Red Cross. Holiday activities often conflict with donation appointments for many regular donors, creating a greater need for donations this time of year. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a lifesaving transfusion. That need remains constant – even during the holiday season.
To encourage individuals to donate over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, presenting blood and platelet donors from Dec. 24 through Jan. 4 will receive a long-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt, 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 use 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.