The holiday season is here, and with it comes the exchange of gifts among family and friends. For many hospital patients, one gift on their wish list can't be found at stores: a blood donation.
Blood donations could be the gift of life to people like Lauren McCrary, who was immediately hospitalized after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She received more than 140 blood and platelet transfusions. Now in remission, she serves as the blood drive coordinator at the high school where she works.
"I can never repay the donors who helped save my life, but I can remind others that giving blood is truly the gift that means something," Lauren said. "The blood I received has helped me celebrate more holiday seasons with my family."
The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give what could be the most meaningful gift of the season to someone. Appointments can be made by visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Dec. 18, from 2-7 p.m., at Knights of Columbus, South Osage in Tipton.
Dec. 20, from 1-5 p.m., at Latham Elementary School, 156 School St. in Latham.
Dec. 26, from 2:30-6:30 p.m., at Stover Community Center, 600 Legion Drive in Stover.
Dec. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Department of Natural Resources, 1730 E. Elm St. in Jefferson City.
Dec. 31, from 1-6 p.m., at Capital 8 Theaters, 3550 Country Club Drive in Jefferson City.
Dec. 18, from 2-6 p.m., at Bunceton High School, 500 E. Main St. in Bunceton.
Dec. 19, from 2-7 p.m., at Eldon Community Center, 309 E. Second St. in Eldon.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.