Become a blood donor for the holidays

Published 4:54 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

The recent cold weather reminds us winter is well on its way, with Christmas – traditionally a time spent with families and friends – just around the corner. By giving the gift of blood at an upcoming American Red Cross Blood Drive, donors can help make sure anyone who finds themselves in need of blood during the holiday period will have a chance to enjoy another holiday with their family.

The Greenville Wal-Mart is hosting a Red Cross blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, December 31 at their location on 129 Interstate Drive.

“One of the best ways to protect our communities, our friends and families and our country through the extended holiday period is to be prepared for disasters before they occur. By giving blood, you’re helping America by preparing our healthcare system for a potential catastrophe,” said Ivy Pittman of the ARC.

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“People who give blood give something that can’t be made in a lab or manufactured by modern medicine. Without it, lives would be lost.”

Donors who have either of the Type O blood types are especially in demand, as more than 50 percent of blood ordered through hospital is Type O. A single traffic accident victim can require between four and 100 units of blood. A bypass patient can need four to six units of blood to survive. An infant born with Rh factor complications must have at least a unit of blood to survive. Patients like these need blood every two seconds in the U.S., making it critical that donors give blood for the good of humanity.

“Blood can be separated into three components: blood, platelets and plasma,” said Pittman.

“This means one donation can benefit up to three individuals. Because it takes up to three days for blood to be processed and made available to hospitals, it is important a donation be made ahead of an emergency.”

If all who are eligible would donate four times a year, there would be no blood shortage.

Plan on giving blood? Here are some tips. Double your intake of fluids in the 48 hours before the donation. Eat a nutritious meal the night before, as well as, the day of the blood drive. Eat iron-rich foods such as lean beef, broccoli, greens, shrimp or dried beans. Also consume foods high in Vitamin C. Make sure and get a good night’s sleep before the drive.

During the month of December, every presenting volunteer donor at an American Red Cross Blood Drive or donor center will be entered into a regional drawing for a $1,000 gift card as part of the “Give a Little, Buy a Lot” promotion. All presenting volunteer donors will also receive an American Red Cross T-shirt during the month of December.