SIKESTON -- 'Tis the season for giving blood.
That's what the American Red Cross is hoping through its "Perfect Gift" campaign.
"There is always a need and it does become a little more pronounced during the winter months," said Dan Fox, media representative for the Red Cross. "We've got the holidays this month, and because of the holidays, all of the schools are out of session, and families are making holiday plans and taking trips across the nation."
There's a lot of commotion surrounding the holidays, and blood donations aren't at the top of many people's priority lists.
"At least once or twice a season, we see some inclement weather, and as a result, we have to cancel our blood drives. We will not hold them if it's not safe for staff and donors to get there," Fox said.
And when blood drives must be canceled, the blood donations are going to do go down, Fox pointed out.
"So this perfect gift campaign is about the idea with the holidays coming up, this would be a perfect gift for somebody in need," Fox said.
Maybe there is somebody who is in the hospital now and who needs a blood donation now, Fox said. A blood donation may help that person get out the hospital for the holidays, he said.
"This winter weather is quickly approaching. We've got the cold weather, but we know it's coming. While the weather is cooperative, we're asking to get out now and donate blood.
Fox said he can't stress enough the importance of blood donations.
"The summer was rough as far as blood donations, and we were hoping to rebound in the fall -- and we did a little bit -- and now we're heading into the winter and need more," Fox said.
At one point during the summer, the Red Cross was at critically low levels, Fox said.
"We're not at critically low levels right now, but the need is constant. We never take a break and say: 'We're good now,'" Fox said.
Locally, several blood drives are taking place over the next couple weeks. On Monday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., a blood drive will be at Matthews Elementary in Sikeston. Then from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Lee Hunter Elementary is hosting a blood drive. A Donor Appreciation Blood Drive will also be on Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Community Building in New Madrid.
It only takes about an hour to donate blood, Fox said. By taking time to donate this winter, you can help the Red Cross ensure a stable blood supply for all patients who need blood products, he said.
Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston will be the site for a blood drive from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 21, and the YMCA of Southeast Missouri in Sikeston will have a blood drive from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 22.
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