Blood drive Monday; many ‘gifts’ needed

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 23, 2002

While final purchases are being made to bring holiday cheer tofamily and friends, everyone is reminded to give the ultimatepresent: the gift of life.

A Christmas blood drive has been scheduled for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.Monday at King’s Daughters Medical Center. This will allow arearesidents to roll up their sleeves and possibly save the lives ofmany others during a time when most forget about the important actof charity, officials said.

“December and January are two of the worst months in terms ofcollecting enough blood for patients. People are understandablybusier now than the rest of the year, making it harder for them togive blood,” said Dani Edmonson, spokesperson for Mississippi BloodServices.

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One pint of blood can be used to save the lives of up to fourpeople. The blood can be used for numerous beneficial purposesincluding surgeries, trauma situations and leukemia treatments.

Bill Boerner learned the importance of giving blood two yearsago when his brother, Bruce, was diagnosed with mantle celllymphoma. He discovered that blood donations are crucial in thetreatment of that disease.

A blood drive was held for Bruce Boerner during that time,bringing out dozens of people who wanted to donate in his name. Theblood proved to be a definite life-saver for Bruce, who is now inremission and doing well.

“He and I pledged then to return the favor. We’d like to hold adrive annually to promote giving blood,” said Bill Boerner.

Blood donors don’t just have the opportunity to save the livesof others, they can also improve their own health. Recent studieshave shown that blood donors’ risk of heart attack is 85 percentless than that of non-donors.

The risk of certain types of cancer can also be reduced bydonating blood regularly because it decreases the amount of ironstored in the body.

Blood donors must be healthy, at least 17 years old, weigh atleast 110 pounds and bring identification to donate blood. Blooddonations are needed throughout the year because donated blood isonly viable for 42 days after the donation.

“Therefore, people need to give blood and give blood often tokeep the supply up,” said Edmonson.

For more information call Mississippi Blood Services at (601)368-2600.