Blood donation important in holiday season

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 22, 2015

The American Red Cross is encouraging people to make blood donations before the holidays. According to a press release by the Red Cross, blood donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when people travel and are consumed by holiday events.

The icy road conditions during this time and an increase in people drinking cause more traffic accidents so hospitals need more blood from December through February said Paul Adams, the public relations manager for the Blood Center.

Tiffany Taylor, external communications manager for the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region for the American Red Cross, said “Thanksgiving is a time when were often encouraged to give thanks and in that vein, we are encouraging the people to give life and give blood. Donations usually go down because of holiday plans and travels. So before the holidays we are encouraging people to give ahead of the holidays so we can stock up on our supply.”

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Donors with every blood type are needed with specific demands for O negative, B negative, A negative and AB blood types, according to the release.

Taylor said that in light of the flooding in the South Carolina, blood drives were cancelled in that area leading to a significant loss of blood donations. When these tragedies and natural disasters happen, hospitals need to draw from other areas of the country for help. The Red Cross has to collect at least 300 units, which is around 300 pints a day, in order to meet the needs of the area hospital partners, Taylor said.

“It’s not a bad process at all to give blood. I would encourage you to think about breast cancer awareness month, many people need blood transfusions or blood after chemotherapy. Thanksgiving is a time of thanks and I would encourage them to think of the life they can save with donating blood,” Taylor said.

There are eight upcoming donation locations in Mississippi where people can go and donate. Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS to make an appointment. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. The Picayune Blood Center is located at 318 Memorial Blvd and can be reached at 601-798-9693. They are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.