WILMINGTON — The American Red Cross is encouraging eligible donors to donate blood or platelets now and into the new year.
According to the Red Cross, last year nearly 64,000 fewer blood and platelet donations were given during the seven weeks from Thanksgiving through the first week of January as compared to the average during the rest of the year.
This holiday season decline often occurs because regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Many blood drives may also be canceled because of severe winter storms.
“By taking just about an hour of time today, you can help save someone’s life within a few weeks or even days of your donation,” said Maya Franklin, communications manager of the Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region.
Blood is perishable and can only be replenished by volunteer donors. Red blood cells must be transfused within 42 days and platelets, the tiny cells that form clots and help stop bleeding, must be transfused within just five days.
More than half of all platelet donations go to cancer patients who need platelet transfusions to prevent life-threatening bleeding during chemotherapy.
“We’re asking donors to give now to help ensure blood is available when patients need it most,” said Franklin.
Donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross RapidPass pre-donation health history online questionnaire, Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
As a special thank-you for taking the time to donate, those who come to give Dec. 21 through Jan. 7 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.