Blood drive

Amanda Romney/American Red Cross

HELPING OTHERS — Heidi Reed relaxes in a donor chair following her blood donation to the American Red Cross. Reed’s mother received blood during a recent surgery.

PALMDALE ­— Ringing in the new year, its common to hear of resolutions to eat healthier and exercise. But what about resolving to give more life? Making a difference in the life of another is as easy as scheduling a blood or platelet donation with the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross en­cour­ages people to help meet the urgent need for blood and plate­lets by resolving to give blood in Jan­uary for National Blood Donor Month. The critical role of blood and platelet donors has been celebrated each January for near­ly 50 years, which coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood sup­ply for patients.

The need in the Antelope Valley is great, especially due to busy hol­id­ay schedules, extreme winter weather and seasonal illnesses which often impact donor turnout this time of year.

“Roll up a sleeve and come out to a local blood drive in the com­mu­nity,” American Red Cross Com­mu­nications Man­ager Christine Welch said. “In less than an hour you can save a life.”

Donating blood or platelets is a way to make a lifesaving impact in the new year for patients such as Judy Janssen, who was diag­nosed with end-stage auto­immune liver dis­ease in 2016. Janssen re­ceived fre­quent blood trans­fu­sions, sometimes mul­tip­le times a week, until she un­der­went a liver trans­plant last January.

“Blood donors make a really big difference with very little effort,” said Jans­sen, who received dozens of transfusions before and dur­ing her transplant sur­gery. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for blood donations.”

The American Red Cross must collect 700 blood do­na­tions a day in South­ern California, in­clu­ding the Antelope Valley, to main­tain its nationwide goal. To encourage do­na­tions im­me­diately, all those who come to donate by Sunday will get a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while sup­plies last.

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer trans­por­tation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer trans­por­tation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and pro­vides emotional support to victims of disasters; sup­plies about 40% of the na­tion’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; pro­vides in­ter­national hu­man­it­ar­ian aid; and supports mil­it­ary members and their families.

For details or to make an appointment, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 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 in most states (16 with parental con­sent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in gen­er­ally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

Blood and platelet do­nors can 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, be­fore arriving at the blood drive. To get started, fol­low the instructions at Red­CrossBlood.org/Rapid­Pass or use the Blood Donor App.

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