The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season by making an appointment to give blood or platelets. While helping to save lives is likely motivation enough, those who come out to give through Wednesday, Dec. 18 will also receive a $5 gift card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

   Finding a convenient blood drive is quick and easy, and can be done by searching for drives by zip code and making an appointment to donate. To sign up, use the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit, call (800) 733-2767 or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

   The entire donation process only takes about an hour, but donors can save time withRapidPass. Pre-donation reading and health history questions can be completed online to save about 15 minutes.

   Donors receive a mini-health screening – which includes blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin readings – to help determine eligibility. First-time donors will also find out their blood type soon after donating.

   As schedules fill with holiday parties, shopping and fun with friends and family, many blood and platelet donors delay giving. Unfortunately, that may lead to delays in treatments for patients relying on blood. Right now, there is a critical need for type O blood donors.

   Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Shiawassee County are scheduled for:

• New Lothrop High School, 9285 Genesee St., from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26

• Owosso VFW 9455, at 519 S. Chipman St., from noon to 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10

• Perry High School, 2555 W. Britton Rd., from 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12

• Memorial Healthcare, 826 W. King St. in Owosso, from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13

   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 (or 16 with parental consent) weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Save Lives This Holiday Season by Donating Blood was last modified: November 25th, 2019 by Karen Elford