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Blood, platelet donations badly needed

Though the holiday season has come to a close, the gift of giving is ever-present and vital to so many in need of blood, according to officials with the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross is urging area residents to help it prepare for potential emergencies, particularly during the winter months.

Officials with the organization are calling on blood and platelet donors as the Southern Blood Services Region has seen a 20-percent decrease in blood donations in just the last three weeks.

The decline is not uncommon during the winter, when holiday planning, seasonal illnesses and travel, often prevent donors from making their regular blood donations, said Mario Sedlock, director of donor services, American Red Cross, Southern Blood Services Region.

“The Red Cross is very appreciative [of] our loyal blood and platelet donors, who give of themselves to help save the lives of others,” said Sedlock. “We would not be able to meet the needs of patients in the hospitals that we serve without their support.”

Sedlock acknowledged that, each day, approximately 44,000 units of blood are needed for patients in the United States. He noted that residents of the Southern Crescent have opportunities to donate this week.

The Camp Creek Blood Donation Center is open Tuesday through Saturday. The center, located at 3645 Marketplace Blvd., Suite 180, East Point, has hours on Tuesday, from 11 a.m., until 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, from 12 p.m., until 7 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m., until 3 p.m.

The South Metro Blood Donation Center also is open Tuesday through Saturday. The center, located at 675 Southcrest Parkway, Suite 120, Stockbridge, has hours on Tuesday, from 11 a.m., until 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, from 12 p.m., until 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m., until 3 p.m.

Those interested in donating, can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or visit www.redcrossblood.org, to make an appointment, or for more information.

Officials said 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 permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health, may be eligible to donate blood.