HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The American Red Cross encourages eligible blood donors to give one last gift this holiday season and discover the true meaning of giving by donating blood.
There are often fewer donors this time of year, and that holds true in Horry County this year. There are many reasons for a lack of donations: the rigors of busy holiday schedules and traveling means it slips a lot of people's minds to go in and donate, or they miss their appointments. And seasonal illnesses like the flu play a big factor. You have to be healthy to donate blood.
For patients with cancer or other illnesses and injuries that require blood transfusions, the need for blood is constant and doesn't get a holiday break. For many people it takes a tragedy to trigger the understanding of how important it is to donate blood.
"Many donors donate or continue to donate to begin with because they've either used blood or they've had a loved one who's used blood," says Frecia Ammons with Red Cross Blood Services. "Or they simply know how important it is for the hospitals to have the blood that's needed for the patients."
Any and every blood type is needed right now, but the Red Cross says it especially needs donations from people with type O negative, A negative and B negative. If you don't know your blood type, that's okay. When you come to donate, the folks at the American Red Cross will figure it out. And they never turn any blood type down.
Just remember to eat a full meal and drink water before you come so you don't get sick or faint. Once you get to the donation location, make sure you've got your ID. Anyone under 17-years-old is required to have parental consent.
The quickest way to donate blood is to make an appointment. And you have to wait 56 days until you can donate again.
To encourage donations, the Red Cross is making it easy to donate by hosting drives all week long in different areas. You can make an appointment or just walk in.
Anyone who donates blood from Christmas Eve through January 4 will get a long-sleeve Red Cross t-shirt as their way of saying thank you. Find out why donors are fewer during the holiday season and what you need to know before you give the gift of life.
Blood donation centers and blood drives by county, Dec. 16-31:
Myrtle Beach Donation Center, The Plaza at Carolina Forest, 3681 Renee Drive, Unit 4