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Holidays intensify need for donations

American Red Cross volunteers are asking Tri-State residents for a gift of a different kind this holiday season – their blood.

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

American Red Cross volunteers are asking Tri-State residents for a gift of a different kind this holiday season – their blood.

The holidays are times when blood need is high and people are busy, said Cheryl Gergely, supervisor of communications for Tri-State Regional Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region.

"We do need blood this time of year," Mrs. Gergely said. "It’s always a time when people get busy with other religious activities and blood donations fall to a low priority. But there are still patients in the hospitals who need blood for surgeries. There also are accident victims and blood is needed for other medical treatments."

This time of year, more accidents happen and that increases the need for blood, Mrs. Gergely added.

"Accidents can increase," she said. "There are more people out traveling, shopping, going to relatives’ houses. This can increase the likelihood of an accident."

And although blood levels are at the prime level – three days supply – they can plummet if people do not factor blood donations into their holiday schedule, Mrs. Gergely said.

To make an appointment at Ashland, Ky., King’s Daughters Medical Center, or at the Huntington, W.Va., Tri-State Regional Blood Services, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE, Mrs. Gergely said.

"There’s a 105-pound minimum weight requirement," she said. "Donors have to be at least 17 years old. There’s no upper age limit. And it’s advisable to eat before coming. Increasing fluid level also helps."

Donations should not take more than an hour, and there is not an automatic restriction for donors with high blood pressure or diabetes, Mrs. Gergely said.

"We take out a pint of blood," she said. "An average adult has 10 to 12 pints in their body, and the fluid volume is replaced within 24 hours."

Operating hours for the Huntington center are 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Ashland center, where appointments are required, is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve, both centers will close at 1 p.m. and remain closed through Christmas Day. The same schedule is planned for the New Year’s holiday as well.