As people gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, the American Red Cross gives thanks for the generous blood and platelet donors who roll up their sleeves to help patients in need throughout the year.
During the winter months and especially around the holidays, blood donations tend to decline. Long holiday weekends, like Thanksgiving, pose an extra challenge when many donors are traveling to be with family and friends. The Red Cross encourages people to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and give the perfect gift to a patient this holiday season – the gift of life.
Gratitude for blood donors like the Snyder family
Giving the gift of life is has become a tradition for the Snyder family of Toledo, Ohio. When Mike Snyder turned 79 years old in September, he donated his 20th gallon of blood with the Red Cross. In honor of Snyder, five of his family members rolled up their sleeves alongside him. Snyder regularly encourages his family to donate blood, and he says even at age 79, he enjoys being tech-savvy while helping save lives at the same time.
“With technological advances like the Red Cross Blood App and Rapid Pass, it seems like it gets easier and easier to give,” said Snyder. “It’s a very easy thing to do to help someone, to save lives. It’s important to have the blood on hand when it’s needed.”
Helping save lives can be even more gratifying when donating with someone special. Like the Snyder family, eligible donors are encouraged to make donating blood a family affair. Individuals can invite a family member, friend or co-worker to roll up a sleeve alongside them to make the experience of helping save lives even more meaningful.
To encourage donations around the Thanksgiving holiday, all who come to donate Nov. 24-28 will be invited to download a set of recipes from celebrity chefs. Blood and platelet donors of all types are needed to give this November to help ensure a sufficient supply for hospital patients.
Make an appointment to donate blood or platelets
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
Donors can use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or laptop. Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass to get started.
Blood drive hosts needed to meet patient needs
This time of year, there are also fewer blood drives on the calendar. Many sponsoring groups postpone blood drives while people are busy with holiday activities, and severe weather may cause scheduled blood drives to be canceled. With fewer opportunities for donors to give, the Red Cross typically experiences a seasonal decline in blood donations.
Because more than 80 percent of blood donations are made at blood drives, organizations are needed to host blood drives this winter to help ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need. More information on hosting a blood drive is available at redcrossblood.org.