Give the gift of blood this holiday season

By Amanda Dodson -

“Every two seconds someone needs blood. You never know when it may hit close to home and someone you love will need it,” said Lynn Wilkes, Account Manager with American Red Cross.

Wilkes explained that due to busyness and travel during the holidays, donations seem to decline around this time of year while the need for blood actually goes up.

“Patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood so the need for donors to give is constant,” she said.

Cancer patients, those undergoing surgery, accident victims and many patients rely on donated blood throughout the year.

Eligible donors with types O, B negative or A negative blood are especially needed and encouraged to make a Power Red donation, if available. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact. During this type of donation, red blood cells are separated from other blood components, and the plasma and platelets are safely and comfortably returned to the donor.

Wilkes said Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency personnel reach for in trauma situations when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type.

If you’ve never given blood before, the process is a simple thing to do, but can make a big difference in the lives of others, Wilkes said.

The donation process from the time you arrive until the time you leave takes about an hour. The donation itself is only about eight to 10 minutes. Donors are asked to show a donor card, driver’s license, or other form of identification. Then, their temperature is checked, along with pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level present in a sample of blood. After donating, donors are given a snack and something to drink in the refreshment area and stay for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Wilkes said the number of blood drives in Stokes County have increased over the last year and most do well in meeting their goal.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site. You can visit or call 1800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.

Stokes County Blood Drives through the month of Dec.:

Dec. 5 at Poplar Springs Church of Christ, 7120 NC Hwy 66 S. in King from noon until 4:30 p.m. Coordinator: Lynn Wilkes (336) 816-6280

Dec. 18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 725 West Dalton Street in King from 2 – 7 p.m. Coordinator: Peggy Roberts (336) 671-0151

Dec. 28 at Willow Oak Baptist Church, 4837 NC Hwy 89 E in Walnut Cove from3 – 7:30 p.m. Coordinator: Clifford Willis (336) 403-5333

Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.

By Amanda Dodson