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The gift of life

By: Victoria Pan

Donating blood is a gift you can give this Christmas that can help save many lives. Photo courtesy of Google Images

We all have a particular thing that we want for the holidays whether we celebrate it or not, from the newest iPod touch to a black Labrador. What about shopping or finding gifts for others? Many of us have trouble buying gifts for our loved ones, and it always comes down to the same question: “Will they like it?” However, this Christmas, though we rarely think about the fact that there are people all over the world that desperately “need” something, something to stay alive. This happens to be blood.

We can have the best doctors and the most advanced technology, but nothing can replace blood, the building block of life. If people didn’t donate blood, 4.5 million Americans would die each year. This Christmas, you can save many lives and give the best present in the world by donating blood. You can make a difference, even in the small town of Fort Mill.

The Upper Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross is an organization led by volunteers who serve people in the counties of York, Chester, and Lancaster. “We need you, and we appreciate your sacrifice to be able to come and give blood for others,” Rebecca Melton, the executive director of the organization, said. “We’re short of O negative, that’s the universal one.”  The Fort Mill Fire Department is presenting its annual holiday blood drive on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This will be held at 121 Tom Hall Street. The organizers hope that they will reach their goal of 40 donors, but desire more. “Come be part of saving a life. When you or a loved one is in the hospital and need blood, you don’t want to have to worry whether or not they have the right blood type,” said Fire Chief Ken Kerber. Melton said that people don’t usually come to blood drives during December because of shopping and going out of town. However, she said that there is still a shortage of blood. “There are still sickle cell patients, cancer patients and heart patients who require blood. Those needs don’t go away because of the holidays,” Melton says. Kerber says that especially during holiday season, there are many accidents and emergencies where blood is needed. Last December 2009, the community donated 653 pints of blood, and they want to top that this year.

There are many blood drives in Fort Mill, some that are not open to the public, however, there is a public blood drive starting at 1:30P.M., on December 22, 2010 on Gold Hill Road. Donors must be 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. There are exceptions, however, if you are 16 years old and have a parent’s consent.

This Christmas, you can give the best present and also the most needed present by donating blood. This will save many lives from all over America. So, come out and schedule an appointment at a Fort Mill blood drive, and donate the gift of life-blood.

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