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Red Cross asks for donors to give the gift of life during holidays
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ATLANTA — The American Red Cross is on a mission to save lives this winter. They are in need of dedicated volunteers to help make that mission possible by scheduling a blood drive during the critical winter holiday season.

Blood drive coordinators who schedule a drive or collect 110 percent of goal on an existing drive between Dec. 24 and Jan. 11 will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift card. The American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern Region, collected more than 286,000 units of blood in 2006. More than 78 percent of those units were collected at blood drives.  

“The American Red Cross depends on caring blood donors to help provide blood for hospital patients needing transfusions to survive,” said Randy Edwards, chief executive officer, American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. “Without blood drives and dedicated people who coordinate them, many of these life-saving donations would not be possible.”

The blood supply often falls to critically low levels during the winter holiday season.  Typically, collections suffer most in late December and early January because regular donors are on vacation and are preoccupied with other holiday-related activities.

When this collection shortfall is coupled with an increased demand caused by more frequent holiday travel, a potentially dangerous situation can develop as demand for blood and blood products begins to outpace the supply.

The Southern Blood Services Region needs at least 1,200 people give blood each weekday in an effort to meet the needs of more than 130 hospitals throughout the region.  

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh no less than 110 pounds.  It is safe to give blood every 56 days and platelets every two weeks.  

For more information or to schedule a blood drive, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) or visit