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Help save lives this holiday season

The American Red Cross is sharing ways to give gifts of health this holiday season with local blood collections.

Blood donations are crucial at this time of year, said Bernadette Jay, external communications manager for Mid-Atlantic and Appalachian Blood Services of the American Red Cross. With people busy with holiday plans, they don’t always find time to donate, but the need stays the same.

“There’s a lot of people who are traveling — especially our regular donors — that may not have the opportunity to come in, or new donors who want to come in but may not do so around their busy holiday schedules,” Jay said. “But we still have the need for blood. Even though it is the holidays, it doesn’t take a break. There are patients relying on you so they too can enjoy another holiday with their families.”

Donors can save about 15 minutes of their time by using RapidPass on their smartphones, tablets or computers to complete their pre-donation readings and health history questions in advance.

With the Blood Donor App, they can find local blood drives and donation centers, schedule donations and keep track of their donated blood and platelets from the palm of their hands.

“Imagine you’re stuck in traffic and having a terrible day, and then you get this alert on your phone that your blood is off to help someone,” Jay said. “How good do you feel knowing that?”

Blood drives planned in Suffolk this December are:

4Mike Duman Auto Sales, 2300 Godwin Blvd., from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 1.

4Sentara Obici Hospital, 2800 Godwin Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 4.

4Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd., from 2 to 7 p.m. Dec. 5.

4O’doodleDoo’s Donuts, 1601 Bridge Road, from 7 to 9:45 a.m. Dec. 10.

4Zaxby’s, 6120 College Drive, from 12:15 to 3:15 p.m. Dec. 10.

Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS for more information.