Sunday River drive kicks off Red Cross Blood Donor Month

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NEWRY – The American Red Cross has issued a challenge to kick off National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. The annual observance provides an opportunity to pay tribute to past and present blood donors and to extend an invitation to donate blood to those healthy, eligible individuals who have previously never given the gift of life.

“Blood is required every day in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities in our region to save the lives of accident victims, patients with cancer and other diseases, as well as those undergoing routine surgeries,” said Ellen Russell, manager of donor recruitment for Maine.

She said, “Our goal is to ensure that blood is available to patients whenever and wherever it is needed because it is the blood on the shelves that saves lives. Donors in the Bethel area will have an opportunity to celebrate National Volunteer Blood Donor Month on Friday, Jan. 17. A Red Cross blood drive will be held at Sunday River in the South Ridge Base Lodge from 1 to 6 p.m. Donors of all blood types are encouraged to attend and first-time donors will be welcomed to join the ranks of ‘Silent Heroes’ at this time.”

“Many people don’t realize that blood is needed every day by patients, not just in times of national crisis. To a child battling sickle cell anemia, a grandmother fighting leukemia or a father waiting for a liver transplant, having a safe and available blood supply is more than a wish – it’s a necessity,” Russell said. “What better way to show your support in this new year than by giving the gift of life during National Volunteer Blood Donor Month.”

To avert blood shortages this winter, residents are needed to commit to donating blood on a regular basis. Blood has a shelf life of 42 days, which means it constantly needs to be replenished. Donors can give blood every 56 days, or six times a year.

Those age 17 or older, weighing 110 pounds or more and in general good health, may call 1-800 GIVE LIFE to make an appointment. Maine residents may also request an appointment for blood drives by visiting www.newenglandblood.org. Positive ID is required at the time of a blood donation.

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