NORTHWEST OHIO — Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, more than 1 million units of blood could be transfused in the United States. Individuals are urged to give a lifesaving gift this holiday season by making an appointment to donate blood or platelets and help the American Red Cross ensure a sufficient supply is available for patients throughout the holiday season. Those with type O blood are especially needed.

How blood donation impacts lives

On Sept. 28, 2018, MaKenzie Schienebeck experienced a complication during her pregnancy and found herself losing blood extremely fast. She was in and out of consciousness and felt her life slipping away. Schienebeck was given blood transfusions on the way to the hospital, during emergency surgery and after surgery. “I would not be alive today if it was not for the American Red Cross and the gracious donors who gave their blood,” said Schienebeck. “Blood is more than just blood. It’s the key to saving lives.”

During the holiday season, set aside an hour to give blood and be the lifeline patients need. Make an appointment now by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

In thanks for helping meet the urgent need, those who come to give blood or platelets now through Dec. 18 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Thanks.)

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Dec. 4-31:

OHIO

Allen County

Delphos

12/4/2019: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 1011 Elida Avenue

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Mercer County

Rockford

12/5/2019: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., New Horizons Community Church, 833 S. Main St.

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Paulding County

Paulding

12/12/2019: 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., First Christian Church, 1233 Emerald Road

12/17/2019: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Paulding County Hospital, 1035 W. Wayne St.

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Van Wert County

Convoy

12/16/2019: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Redeemer Lutheran Church, 6727 State Route 49

Van Wert

12/13/2019: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m., Lee Kinstle Sales and Service, 650 West Ervin Road

12/20/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Van Wert Health North, 214 Towne Center Blvd.

12/27/2019: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., YMCA Van Wert, 241 W Main St.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

Volunteers needed

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, visit rdcrss.org/driver.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit them on Twitter at @RedCross.