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Blood donations sought, holidays lead to drop in participation

With Thanksgiving over, it’s only natural for people’s minds to turn to the buying of gifts for the holidays.

For many it’s a time to give, and one of the best ways to give of oneself is to donate blood. Holiday donations are crucial to the American Red Cross. Blood donations typically decline between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day due to the holiday season and travel, Red Cross officials said.

Donated blood is used to help accident victims along with patients who have cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses. There is no substitute for blood, so volunteer donors are the only source, officials said.

About 1,200 donors are needed each weekday to meet the demand of more than 120 hospitals served by the Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region, officials said.

There are several local blood drives planned for the coming weeks:

• Friday, Dec. 3 at The Gathering Place at 205 McIntosh Trail in Peachtree City from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.;

• Monday, Dec. 13 at the Fayette County Public Library at 1821 Heritage Parkway in downtown Fayetteville from 3-7 p.m.; and

• Monday, Dec. 13 at Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church at 1183 Ga. Highway 92 south from 3-7 p.m.

One individual can safely donate blood every 56 days. Platelets can be given safely every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 17 and older, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

To schedule an appointment for any of these blood drives, log on to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

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