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Give blood, watch the NFL
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More platelet donors across Georgia will soon be able to save lives while watching their favorite football team play on Sundays.

The American Red Cross has opened its Albany, Athens, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Savannah and Valdosta donor centers two Sundays per month for platelet donations.

Platelets are the component in blood that enables it to clot. Patients with illnesses that include cancer, leukemia and blood diseases frequently need platelet transfusions. A small child with leukemia can require as many as 30 to 40 units of platelets per week during a hospital stay.  Without enough platelets, a patient can bleed to death.

“It is imperative to receive platelet donations every day in order to maintain a steady supply of this precious blood component for the local patients who need them,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor services, American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern Region. “We hope more donors will come out to donate now that our centers are open on some Sundays.”

The Savannah Donor Center located at 25 Tibet Ave. will be open the first and third Sunday of each month from 1-5 p.m. for platelet and whole blood donations. Platelet donors can watch the NFL game of their choice on their own television suspended above the donor bed.

The Red Cross Southern Region Blood Services need 1,200 people to donate blood every weekday in order to have an adequate supply for 130 Georgia hospitals. Blood can be safely donated every 56 days.

Platelet donations can be made more frequently than regular blood donations. Platelets can be given safely every two weeks, up to 24 times a year.

Appointments are needed for platelet donations and can be made by calling (912) 961-5765. Most healthy people age 17 and older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets.