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Out for blood

If you’ve got it, you probably take it for granted, but for those who don’t it can mean life or death.

To pass on the gift of life, the American Red Cross is holding two more blood drives in April and eight blood drives in May — but they need your help.

“Typically, Suffolk does a great job donating,” said Theresa Weaver, senior account manager for the Red Cross in Suffolk. “But blood drives have been a little tough recently, with spring break last week and unseasonable temperatures. We’ve had a harder time than normal getting people to come out.”

People are discouraged from giving blood if they have colds, and the onslaught of recent pollen caused many of those symptoms. With many others on vacation for spring break, donations at local churches and companies have dropped, Weaver said.

“Because of that drop, we’re pushing hard toward the end of the month to get people to donate,” she added.

Donors can give every 56 days, which amounts to six times a year and can result in enough donated blood to save 12 lives.

“And each time you give, you can save two people’s lives with the blood you donate,” Weaver said.

But those numbers can work in reverse, too.

“As an example, if we ran 10 blood drives and missed our goal by 5 donations that’s a total of 50 donations, which is two lives per donations. That could affect 100 lives,” Weaver said.

Weaver reminds donors to drink plenty of fluids, keep their iron count up and make sure they’re eating plenty of fruits and veggies during the days leading up to their donation.

“The biggest thing is water, though,” Weaver said. “The hydration keeps your veins hydrated and makes everything — including your recovery — easier.”

Anyone 17 years old or older can donate without parental permission.

To see if you are eligible, call 446-7787 or 1-866-529-0759 or visit redcrossblood.org.

Blood drive schedule

April 22: Virginia Department of Transportation in Suffolk, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

1700 North Main Street

April 25: Nansemond River Baptist Church, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

2896 Bridge Road

May 5: Beech Grove United Methodist Church, 3 – 7 p.m.

4251 Driver Lane

May 6: Suffolk Presbyterian Church, 3:15 – 7:15 p.m.

410 N Broad Street

May 11: Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, 7 – 11 a.m. and 2 – 6 p.m.

1370 Progress Road

May 11: Southside Baptist Church, 2:30 – 7 p.m.

917 Carolina Road

May 11: Lockheed Martin (bus), 9 a.m. – noon

8000 Harbour View Blvd.

May 11: Lakeview Medical Center (bus), 2 – 5 p.m.

2000 Meade Parkway

May 19: Sysco Food Services (bus), Noon – 5 p.m.

7000 Harbour View Blvd.

May 25: Sentara Obici Hospital, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

2800 Godwin Blvd.