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A Lifesaving Gift: Give Blood This Holiday Season

PHOTO: A blood donation can be a lifesaving gift, which is why the American Red Cross hopes Floridians will consider taking time out of their holiday schedules to visit a local blood drive. Photo courtesy American Red Cross.
PHOTO: A blood donation can be a lifesaving gift, which is why the American Red Cross hopes Floridians will consider taking time out of their holiday schedules to visit a local blood drive. Photo courtesy American Red Cross.
December 23, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - At hospitals and clinics across Florida, the need for blood knows no season, but donations tend to drop at this time of year. That's why officials are urging Floridians to consider rolling up their sleeves to give a lifesaving gift.

According to Dan Fox, a communications manager with the American Red Cross, between school vacations, inclement weather and busy schedules, the number of donations declines over the holidays, while the need for blood in local hospitals remains constant.

"These could be car accident victims, trauma victims. They could be people undergoing surgery, women going through childbirth, premature babies, cancer patients," Fox said. "Every two seconds, somebody in this country needs a blood donation."

Fox said many people don't think about giving blood until they hear about hospitals facing shortages, or there's been some sort of major tragedy, but he stressed that the blood donations need to be on hospital shelves before emergencies hit.

"It's vitally important to donate blood, not just when you hear about a natural disaster or something on the news, because that way we can make sure that blood is available to all patients who need it."

Although nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood, less than ten percent actually do so each year.

The American Red Cross estimates that one in ten people admitted to the hospital will require a blood transfusion. In Florida, donors must be at least 16 years old, in good health, and weigh more than 110 pounds. More information is online at RedCrossBlood.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL