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December 27, 2013

A gift of life

Blood donors needed for winter months

In between family dinners, Christmas programs at school, shopping and other holiday activities, many forget another holiday need — giving blood.

Fewer donors make time to give blood during the winter months while the need for blood remains constant, Sarah Moss, the local donor recruiter, said.

A press release from the Red Cross urges people to add donating blood to their list of New Year’s resolutions.

January is National Blood Donor Month, a month used to educate others about the need for regular blood donations.

“Donations typically decline this time of year, as many regular donors are impacted by inclement weather and seasonal illnesses,” a press release from Red Cross stated.

Moss said she likes to put the need for blood into perspective.

”Almost everyone knows someone who has cancer. One cancer patient can require 6 to 8 platelets a day,” Moss said. “That is 6 to 8 donations needed.”

Each day in the U.S., 44,000 pints of blood are needed to help treat trauma victims, surgery patients, organ transplant recipients, premature babies and cancer patients, a press release said.

It takes time to rebuild the supply during the holiday months, Moss said. January is then used to make up for the fewer donations.

”I try to remind people donating blood doesn’t cost anything,” Moss said.

Donating blood has the potential to save three people’s lives. Once blood is donated, it is separated into platelets, plasma and red blood cells.

Blood donated in the blood drives is taken to the Indiana-Ohio regional blood distribution center in Fort Wayne. The region covers the majority of the northern half of the state.

Much of the blood is used locally, as 100 percent of the blood at Logansport Memorial Hospital is supplied by Red Cross. LMH is one of more than 60 hospitals in the Indiana-Ohio region.

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