ATLANTA — Summer generally brings to mind backyard barbecues and family vacations, but record-high gas prices have put a damper on summer travel plans for many families. The American Red Cross hopes its summer promotion will provide three lucky blood donors a little relief at the pump. Everyone who presents to donate blood or platelets between July 1 and Sept. 30, can enter to win one of three $1,000 gas cards as part of its "Save a Life and See America" promotion.
Blood shortages are common during the summer months due to a decrease in blood donations. The absence of high school and college blood drives plays a large role in the annual drop, as does a decrease in the number of organizations sponsoring blood drives. However, hospital demand for blood often increases due to an increase in the number of traumas during the summer.
"While many of us are concerned with the strain on our wallets, countless patients in local hospitals have another concern - survival," said Mario Sedlock, director of donor services, American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. "The summer is
a very challenging time
for the blood supply.
When you take an hour
out of your day to give blood, you help to en-
sure that blood will be available to these patients whenever and wherever it is needed."
The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region needs 1,200 people to donate blood each weekday to meet the needs of patients in more than 130 hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the region. Most people who are age 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to give blood every 56 days. A single blood donation can help save up to three lives. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to donate blood today.