The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to end the year with real meaning by donating blood for hospital patients in need. Holiday activities,...

The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to end the year with real meaning by donating blood for hospital patients in need.

Holiday activities, severe weather and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can pull people away from their regular blood donation schedules. This creates a greater need for blood donations this time of year, especially around the winter holidays. To encourage donations, all those who come to donate Dec. 23, 2015, through Jan. 3, 2016, will get a long-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Jamie Czesak made her first blood donation on Dec. 27, 2013. “As I spent Christmas with my family, I realized how lucky I was to have my health and how we never really know when our last Christmas will be. I decided that I would face my fears and do one of the few things I can do to help save someone’s life  ̶  donate blood.”

Healthy donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types AB, O, B negative and A negative. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App from app stores, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can now use the Blood Donor App to access their donor card and view vital signs from previous donations.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

12/18/2015: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, 8260 Atlee Road Mechanicsville
12/18/2015: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., American Legion Post 314, 6250 Richmond-Tappahannock Hwy Aylett
12/18/2015: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Central High School, 131 Kenbridge-Victoria Road Victoria
12/22/2015: 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Richmond RSMO Cary Street, 420 East Cary St Richmond
12/23/2015: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., St. Mary’s Hospital-Bon Secours, Bloodmobile, Parked in front of fountain close to Manument Ave Richmond
12/30/2015: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Education Center, 125 Buena Vista Circle, P.O. Box 90 South Hill
12/30/2015: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Southside Regional Medical Center, 200 Medical Park Blvd. Petersburg

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.