The American Red Cross is hoping you'll give one more gift this year than you might normally - blood or platelets.
According to a news release from the organization, during the busy holiday season, many strike donations from their to-do lists, but the need for life-sustaining blood doesn't end.
A donation this season could help a child suffering from leukemia be home for Christmas or a burn victim in our community to heal. According to the organization, more than one life could be saved with just one donation.
All blood types are needed right now, and there are several local opportunities for you to donate soon. To easily find a blood drive in your area, go to redcross.org and enter your ZIP code into the box at the top of the page.
In a message of gratitude on the Red Cross site to donors, posted Nov. 20, the group asked what this season is really about.
"For many, it's spending time with family and friends and making memories that last a lifetime. What if you could give someone more of that? More time with family. More time with friends. More holidays, more birthdays, more anniversaries," according to redcross.org.
If you've always wanted to give but are a bit hesitant for any reason, Red Cross offers tips for donors at http://rdcrss.org/2A9u97W.
You can donate blood every 56 days and must be at least 17 years old, 110 pounds and generally in good health, according to redcross.org. If it's your first time donating, you'll fill out a short questionnaire, and later you'll receive a donor card in the mail. You'll need your blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of ID at the donation site. Donors will be given a quick examination to take temperature, blood pressure and other vitals.
To make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
For smartphone users, a new Blood Donor App is also available that can give appointment reminders, keep track of rewards from some retailers for donating blood or platelets and even follow your donation to its delivery, when available. Find the app for iPhone and Android devices by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 or searching for Red Cross Blood in your app store.
To save time at your appointment, you can fill out information on your health history online through RapidPass at www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass and bring it with you.
"The Red Cross is thankful for the generosity of donors who help keep hospital shelves stocked with lifesaving blood products, but we know that the holiday activities that we cherish most can make it difficult for many regular donors to find a moment to donate this time of year," said Rebecca Jordan, executive director of the Central S.C. Chapter, in the release. "We hope technologies like online appointment scheduling, the Blood Donor App and RapidPass will make it a little easier for donors to give more life for patients this holiday season."