Red Cross urges donors to give the perfect gift this winter

Blood and platelet donations needed throughout holiday season

  • Monday, November 21, 2016 2:49pm
  • Life

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give the perfect gift this holiday season – a lifesaving blood or platelet donation. By rolling up a sleeve, donors can help ensure patients continue to receive treatment throughout the holiday season.

Busy holiday schedules and travel plans make it more challenging for regular donors to give, and many businesses and organizations postpone hosting blood drives during the holiday season for these same reasons. This can lead to a decline in blood donations, but the need is constant.

“While many of us gather with friends and family this time of year, patients may spend the holidays in a hospital room,” said Neil Tosuntikool, donor recruitment director of the Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region. “The need for blood doesn’t take a break for the holidays. Please make an appointment to give the most meaningful gift of all – the gift of life through a blood or platelet donation.”

To encourage donations around Thanksgiving, those who come to give blood or platelets from Nov. 24-28 will be emailed a set of recipes from celebrity chef partners Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Richard Blais, David Burke, Mike Isabella and Ellie Krieger.

Power Red maximizes donations

Blood donors with type O, B negative and A negative blood can help more patients with one appointment by making a Power Red donation at select Red Cross blood donation centers and blood drives. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells – the most commonly transfused blood component. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and are frequently give to trauma and surgery patients. During a Power Red donation, red blood cells are separated from other blood components, and plasma and platelets are then safely and comfortably returned to the donor.

“With just a little extra time at their appointment, donors can have an even greater impact on patients in need,” added Tosuntikool.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

King County

Bellevue

Nov. 29 – 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Bellevue Family YMCA, 14230 Bel-Red Rd.

Seattle

Nov. 30: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., American Red Cross Seattle Chapter, 1900 25th Ave S

Dec. 14: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center, 17801 International Blvd.

Dec. 15: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center, 17801 International Blvd.

How to donate blood

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.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

Volunteers needed

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, contact Lynne Calmus at 509-943-7812 or visit the Volunteer Connection website.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit Twitter at @RedCross.

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