One blood donation can give up to three families more time and more memories.

 The American Red Cross has launched a holiday promotion that shows how a blood donation can be the perfect gift that money can’t buy.

 “Every time you choose to donate blood, you can give someone the perfect gift – more time with his or her family and friends,” said Debra Deininger, spokesperson for Arizona Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross.  “Giving blood takes around an hour, but you can give someone else hours, days, even years of time,” she said.

 Through the Perfect Gift campaign, the Red Cross reinforces this message with a public service announcement compiled from home videos of the “perfect gift” gathered from families across the country. The Perfect Gift video is online at RedCrossBlood.org.

 According to a national survey by the American Red Cross, about one in five (19 percent) respondents plan on giving blood this holiday season. These donations are desperately needed during December, when blood donations often decrease as weather woes increase and family schedules turn tumultuous with holiday activities.

 Every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood. On average, 44,000 blood donations are needed each day in the U.S. to help trauma victims, surgical patients, burn victims and patients with blood disorders.  In Arizona, the Red Cross Blood Services needs about 300 donations daily to adequately supply blood needs in 26 hospitals.   

 “Blood recipients can’t take a holiday from needing lifesaving blood,” Deininger said, “so we need to keep donations coming now and into the New Year.” 

Whole blood donors of all blood types are needed to insure a reliable supply for patients.

 “And because of the short, five-day shelf-life of platelets, we are looking for more platelet donations, especially on December 26 and on New Year’s Day.”

 The organization is offering incentives during the holiday season to encourage people to make and keep an appointment.  Incentives vary depending on the type of blood donation, and include free soup mugs and drawings for flat-screen TVs and gift cards valued at $100 and $500.

 To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood or platelets, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 Potential blood donors must be 16 years of age (16 and 17 year olds must have parental permission), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and be in generally good health. People should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate. Eligible donors can give whole blood every 56 days.

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