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Residents asked to donate blood

The latest call for blood donations is evidence that the need for blood donors intensifies heading into the holiday season.

Blood donations typically decline during the holidays, while the need tends to grow, according to April Phillips, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region.

"This year, the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region has issued a ‘30K for the Holidays' challenge to help prevent winter blood shortages, and we need everyone's help to make this successful," said Phillips. "Our goal is to collect 30,000 pints of blood [between] Nov. 19, and Dec. 31."

Phillips pointed to several local organizations willing to host drives this month in an effort to fill in the typical gaps in blood collections this time of year.

Among the organizations is Bethany Baptist Church, which plans to host a Red Cross blood drive on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 2 p.m., until 7 p.m. The church's blood drive coordinator, Debbie Clement, said the drive will take place at the church, located at 4 North Bethany Road, just off of Ga. Highway 81 in McDonough.

"Giving blood may not sound like a fun thing to do," said Clement. "What would be less fun is to find yourself or someone you love in need of blood products and there not be any available.

"It could, and does, happen, especially around the holidays when blood supply typically falls to emergency levels," she continued. "The fun part comes after donating, when you realize what a good thing you've done, namely saving three lives with your one donation. The Red Cross is counting on us to donate at least 36 pints for use in the Henry County area."

"You can help save up to three lives with each blood donation, and it only takes about an hour of your time," added April Phillips, of the Red Cross. "Most donors can donate up to six times a year, which means that at the end of the year, just six hours of your time may have helped save the lives of as many as 18 people."

The Bethany Baptist blood drive will accept walk-ins and all blood types, said Clement. To learn more about the local drive, contact the church at (770) 957-4455.

The Red Cross requires a blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health, may be eligible to give blood.

Potential donors may visit the American Red Cross South Metro Blood Donation Center, at 675 Southcrest Pkwy., in Stockbridge. For availability, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

A schedule of other area Red Cross blood drives and their locations can be found at the Red Cross web site by visiting www.redcrossblood.org.