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Blood needed during the holidays; two drives Tuesday

The American Red Cross is sponsoring blood drives during a typically slow period for blood donations.
Salisbury will have three drives before the new year:
• 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Salisbury Civic Center, 315 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
• 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday at J.F. Hurley Family YMCA, 828 Jake Alexander Blvd.
• 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, 612 Mocksville Ave.
Donations typically decline during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day when busy holiday schedules mean regular donors don’t give as often and many blood drives may be canceled because of winter storms.
Last year, nearly 64,000 fewer blood and platelet donations were given through the Red Cross during the seven weeks from Thanksgiving through the first week of January than the average during the rest of the year.
“By taking just about an hour of time today, you can help save someone’s life within a few weeks or even days of your donation,” said Maya Franklin, communications manager of the Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. “We’re asking donors to give now to help ensure blood is available when patients need it most.”
Blood is perishable and can only be replenished by volunteer donors. Red blood cells, the most transfused blood product, must be transfused within 42 daysPlatelets, the tiny cells that form clots and help stop bleeding, must be transfused within just five days. More than half of all platelet donations go to cancer patients who may need platelet transfusions to prevent life-threatening bleeding during chemotherapy.
“Platelet donors don’t have to wait a few weeks to make a difference in a patient’s life,” said Franklin. “Someone could donate platelets on Monday, and by Friday, those same platelets can help someone’s fight to kick cancer.”
All blood types are needed this winter. Platelet donations are especially encouraged the first week of the new year, which is among the most difficult to collect enough platelets to meet patient needs.
Donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).
Other donation opportunities include:
• China Grove: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Jan. 3, South Rowan YMCA, 950 Kimball Road.
• Rockwell: 2-6:30 p.m. Jan. 3, Saleeby-Fisher YMCA, 790 Crescent Road.
In Salisbury, upcoming blood drives are:
• Noon-4:30 p.m. Jan. 2, American Red Cross, E.H. Dole Chapter I, 1930 Jake Alexander Blvd. W.
• 2-7 p.m. Jan. 5, Salisbury Masonic Lodge, 401 N. Fulton St.
• 1-5:30 p.m. Jan. 14, Bethel Lutheran Church, 355 E. Ridge Road.
As a thank-you for taking the time to donate, those who give blood Dec. 21 through Jan. 7 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

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