ATLANTA — Start the new year with a new attitude: “Live Life, Give Life.” Everyone who donates blood or platelets with the American Red Cross in January 2008 will have a chance to win a $500 gift card.
“During the winter, doctors often have to make tough decisions about which patients receive blood first when the inventory is low,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor services, American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. “The Red Cross hopes that promotions such as ‘Live Life, Give Life’ will encourage eligible blood donors to give blood in January and help ensure that blood is available for everyone who needs a life-saving transfusion.”
The reduction in blood donors during the winter season is due to a mix of variables, including flu and other winter illnesses, cancellation of donation appointments and blood drives, and the vacation schedules of high schools, colleges and many businesses.
About 4 million people in the U.S. need blood each year, and the overwhelming majority would die without it. The Southern Blood Services Region needs about 1,200 people to give blood each weekday to meet the demand of more than 130 hospitals throughout the region.
There is no substitute for blood; volunteer donors are the only source. The pool of eligible donors represents about 37 percent of the population, but only about 8 percent of those eligible actually donate.
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, in generally good health, and weigh 110 pounds or more. It is safe to give blood every 56 days.
Call 1-800-GIVE LIFE or go to www.redcrossblood.org to schedule a donation appointment or to learn more about giving blood.