Dec 1, 2015 1:31 PM

Red Cross in NH needs donors during the holidays


MANCHESTER - Seven hundred pints of blood every day. That's how much The Red Cross of the Northern New England region must collect, just to supply the hospitals in the area.

It can be a hard goal to meet, especially during the holidays when regular donors are distracted and on the move.

"Even our most loyal of blood donors, their routines change, they're off having holiday with their own family," said Mary Brant of the Red Cross of the Northern New England Region.

Just one pint of blood can save up to three lives, she said.

All of the blood collected in New Hampshire is sent to Dedham, Mass. for processing and to Charlotte, N.C. for 12-step testing where it is checked for infectious diseases. Once the blood is tested, it's put to use, but red blood cells can only be stored for up to 42 days and platelets for up to five days, which isn't a lot of wiggle room.

The blood returns back to New England and is distributed to patients that need it. Because of tight tracking, donors can actually find out where their blood ends up.

"I have talked to so many donors who have told me they receive notice that their particular donation helped someone at the Elliot or CMC [Catholic Medical Center] or wherever, and it gives them such a good feeling to know: my blood helped someone," said Brant.

Donations can come in many forms - red cell, platelets, and now double red-cell donations where a donor gives two units of red cells in one sitting.

Even if you can't donate blood there are other ways to give this holiday season - host a blood drive or make a monetary donation. Yet another way to save a life is to take a CPR class from the Red Cross.


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