Donate blood for the holidays?

By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 29, 2010, at 2:32 p.m.

Are you looking for something worthwhile to do this holiday week? How about donating blood? It’ll take about an hour and a half of your time, and your donation could save a life.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30 in Bangor and Portland, FairPoint Communications will partner with the American Red Cross Blood Services in the “FairPoint Bundle Up Blood Drive.” The event, which in Bangor will be held at the Elks Lodge on Hammond Street, aims to attract at least 500 Maine donors at a time when the blood supply is critically low. All donors will be entered into a drawing for prizes including a laptop computer, a kayak, an iPod, and a Kindle electronic reading device.  Other prizes include T-shirts, gift coupons for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and sports tickets.

The severe winter storm that blanketed the Northeast states after Christmas caused an estimated 780 units of blood to go uncollected due to blood drive closures and low turnout at drives that were able to run.  The weather-related loss comes at a challenging time to collect blood, as donations typically decline during the winter holiday season.

All blood types are needed.  Donations of type O-negative blood are in special demand as the inventory has dropped to critical levels. Type O-negative blood can be transfused to anyone and is often used in emergency situations when there is no time to obtain the patient’s blood type. Since type O-negative blood can be used for all patients in need, it is especially important that there be a sufficient supply.

The only source of blood is a generous volunteer donor.   The American Red Cross asks that all who are eligible to donate make an appointment now to help ensure that blood is available for patients.  Also, the Red Cross urges all those who were unable to keep their appointments due to weather conditions to reschedule.

In the U.S., someone needs blood every two seconds.  Every day, the Northeast Division of the American Red Cross must collect approximately 3,000 units of blood just to meet the basic needs of patients.

Individuals who are at least 17 years of age, who weigh at least 110 pounds and who are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Donors should bring a Red Cross blood donor card or other form of identification.

To schedule an appointment or to sponsor a blood drive,  call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org today.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/12/29/health/donate-blood-for-the-holidays/ printed on October 25, 2014