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Originally published: 2014-01-06 13:05:26
Last modified: 2014-01-06 13:07:59

January is blood donor month

by Sherrie Norris

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. 

That's a message from The American Red Cross in its effort to encourage potential donors to give the gift of life during January, which has been designated National Volunteer Blood Donor Month"It's a new year," said the organization's chief medical officer, Richard Benjamin, "and time for putting the past behind and looking forward to the future. "

The American Red Cross has been collecting blood for patients in need for more than 60 years, Benjamin said. 

"During that time, we've learned a great deal, not only about blood collection, but also about the human spirit. We've learned that blood donors are committed to the health of their communities. We've learned that people are willing to roll-up their sleeves and help strangers in need, asking nothing in return."

It is because of selfless blood donors, he said, that more than 8 million blood products are available for patients in hospitals and transfusion centers across the country each year.

It is the hope of Benjamin and his organization that many have made a resolution, or will make a decision today, to give something that means something. "Make it your goal to give blood or platelets just one more time than you did last year," he said. "This small commitment of time could help save the lives of multiple people and you'll get a tremendous feeling of gratification from doing more for patients in need."

The average blood donor gives less than two times each year. If everyone increased his or her donations by one, it would have a huge impact on the available blood supply.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. A Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID is required to donate.

During this month that's been set aside to increase awareness of the ongoing need for blood donations, the following blood drives have been scheduled in the Boone-Blowing Rock area:To schedule an appointment call (828) 264-8226 or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation.