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Blood banks seeking more donors
More accidents around holidays create greater need for donations
Maggie Hollis prepares to take a donation from Lamar Pepper at the Gainesville American Red Cross donation center. - photo by Tom Reed

Where to give blood donations

What: American Red Cross Northeast Georgia Chapter
Where: 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway
For more info: 1-800-RED CROSS

What: LifeSouth Community Blood Center
Where: 1200 McEver Road Extension
For more info: 404-329-1994 or 1-888-795-2707

While the month of January ushers in the start of a new year, it also marks a time when blood banks are most desperate for donations.

And according to Michael Becker, district community development coordinator for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, January is nationally recognized Blood Donor Month and the ideal time for people to resolve to donate blood and platelets.

“Every two seconds in the U.S., someone needs a blood transfusion. Our goal is to get people thinking about blood donations in the beginning of the year in hopes that they will donate all year long,” Becker said. “Blood donors may donate every 56 days, so a donor could conceivably donate six times per year.”

Becker added a combination of busy schedules and an increase in accidents around the holidays creates a greater need for donations.

“Blood donations drop during the end-of-year holiday period because people have other things on their minds. It might be buying gifts, getting the house ready for company or preparing to travel away from home,” Becker said. “In addition, the holidays usually experience many accidents where the need for blood is great.”

Kristen Stancil, communications program manager for the Southern Blood Services Region with the American Red Cross, added that school holidays are a factor in fewer donations.

“High school and college students donate a lot because they have easy access to donation centers, so donations in the summer and around holiday breaks are low,” Stancil explained.

Blood donations help save the lives of car accident victims, sickle cell patients and anyone who relies on a consistent supply of blood, while platelets are given to cancer patients and burn victims, among others.

According to Stancil, just one donation of blood or platelets could help save up to three lives.

But because blood has a shelf life of 42 days, and platelets a shelf life of only five days, there is a “constant need for a blood supply.”

“You never know whose life you might be saving. You could be helping someone celebrate another birthday, another anniversary or start another school year,” Stancil said.

Those interested in donating blood or platelets can call LifeSouth Community Blood Centers at 404-329-1994 or 1-888-795-2707, or the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS, to determine if they are eligible to donate and for donation centers’ operating hours.

Donations can be made at the American Red Cross Northeast Georgia Chapter at 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville and the LifeSouth Community Blood Center at 1200 McEver Road Extension in Gainesville.

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