A lifesaving gift: Utah residents urged to give blood this holiday season

The American Red Cross of Utah is asking residents to give a potentially life-saving blood donation. Photo courtesy American Red Cross.

SALT LAKE CITY – At hospitals and clinics across Utah, the need for blood knows no season, but donations tend to decrease this time of year. That’s why the American Red Cross of Utah is urging people to consider rolling up their sleeves to give a lifesaving gift. 

Julia Wulf, CEO, <a href=”http://www.RedCrossBlood.org/” target=”parent”>American Red Cross</a> Biomedical Services, said between school vacations, inclement weather and busy schedules, the number of donations declines over the holidays, while the need for blood in local hospitals remains constant. Donating blood can mean a lot to someone else, she said. 

“You’re offering hope to patients who are in a hospital, and they’re waiting for that transfusion – because a transfusion can save lives, and it definitely can change lives” Wulf said.

The American Red Cross estimates that one in 10 people admitted to a hospital will require a blood transfusion. In Utah, donors must be at least 17 years old – or 16, with a signed parental consent form. Donors must also be in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. 

Wulf said many people don’t think about giving blood until they hear about hospitals facing shortages, or there has been some sort of major tragedy. The people who need blood this holiday season may be clinging to life, she added.

“Maybe they were in some sort of traumatic event, a car accident or – here in our area of the country – maybe a skiing event,” she said.

Although nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood, less than 10 percent actually does give each year. 

More information is online at <a href=”http://www.RedCrossBlood.org/” target=”parent”>www.RedCrossBlood.org</a>. 

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