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Add Giving Blood to Your Holiday To-Do List!
WASHINGTON, Monday, June 2008 — The Fourth of July weekend is coming and the American Red Cross urges everyone to make giving blood part of their holiday plans.

The number of people giving blood is down, but the need still exists. On any given day, an average of 39,000 units of red blood cells are needed for patients in the United States, even on holidays. Blood helps cancer patients, surgical and trauma patients, burn victims, people with blood disorders, and many others. Age is not a determining factor – blood can help a newborn infant or someone’s grandmother.

To give blood, you must be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good health. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give blood with parental consent. If you have given blood before, it must be at least 56 days since your last donation.

You can also give a special donation called apheresis. This process takes a little longer and the donor gives only platelets. Platelets last for only five days and many of these donations are used to help patients undergoing chemotherapy.

For more information, or to find a blood or platelet donation opportunity, call the Red Cross at
1-800-GIVE LIFE, or visit

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
Your one blood donation may help save as many as three different lives.
Blood has a shelf life just like the food you eat. Red cells last 42 days, platelets only 5 days.
The number of people giving blood drops around a holiday, but patient need doesn’t.
Blood donors give about a pint of their blood.
Zack Shaw has been diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare congenital disease. Zack did not respond to the usual steroid treatment, so doctors tried blood transfusions. Giving him blood worked. Right now he needs one small unit of blood every four to six weeks. This will increase as he gets older. He will need transfusions for the rest of his life.

Isabella Roth has leukemia. The night her family received the diagnosis, Isabella received blood. "If Isabella had not received a transfusion that night, she would not be here. Thanks to an anonymous donor (our) granddaughter survived that night. Whoever that blood donor is, we can never say thank you enough. (He or she) saved our Isabella,” said her grandmother, Frances Roth. Four-year-old Isabella was in the hospital for seven weeks. She will undergo treatments until sometime in 2009.

When Tracy Knight was 16, she was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). During a month-long hospital stay, Tracy underwent a series of blood, platelet and plasma transfusions. From 1999 to 2005, Tracy would receive more than 72 plasma transfusions, nearly a dozen whole blood transfusions and one platelet transfusion. Tracy realizes all too well the importance of blood donors who give of their time to help save a life.

When Christine Bohannon was 24 years old she was diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency, a disorder in which part of the immune system does not properly function. It is a rare disorder that appears in adulthood and leaves the patient vulnerable to other diseases. To treat her illness, Christine needs to receive gamma globulin infusions every three weeks for the rest of her life. Gamma globulin is a protein derived from plasma. It takes approximately 1,000 blood donations to create the amount necessary for just one of Christine’s infusions.


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