Editorial: Give the gift of blood this holiday season

The Christmas shopping crunch time is upon us, with a week to go to find the perfect gift for friends and family members. It can be a stressful and especially busy time.

But what about a gift for someone you might not know? A life-changing gift. And it won’t cost you a penny.


We’re talking about the gift of blood.

During this time of the year, and in the coming winter months of January and February, blood is in short supply, according to the American Red Cross. Even regular donors get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and some people travel away from home, leading to fewer donations.

Even after Christmas and New Year’s, when people return to their normal routines, the ability of the Red Cross to collect donations can be affected by inclement weather causing the cancellation of blood drives, and cold and flu season can force some donors to skip their donation appointments.

While donations decline, patient needs remain steady, according to Red Cross. Someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, meaning more than 41,000 blood donations are needed daily.

All types of blood are sought, but O negative, A negative and B negative are especially needed. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types A and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

There are multiple opportunities to give blood in Carroll County in the coming week and through the end of the year. The next chance is Tuesday, Dec. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Carroll County Board of Education office building at 125 N. Court St. in Westminster. On Wednesday, Dec. 20, the Taneytown volunteer fire company will have a blood drive from 1 to 6:30 p.m. in the activities building at 49 Memorial Drive. The Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County Library, at 6400 W. Hemlock Drive, will host a blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m.

After Christmas, there are blood drives scheduled at the Westminster VFW Post 467 on Poole Road from 2 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26, and in Eldersburg from 12:30 to 6 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless store on Liberty Road Dec. 27 and at the Merritt Athletic Club on Progress Way on Dec. 29. In 2018, TownMall of Westminster will partner with 98 Rock and the Red Cross from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3 and Thursday, Jan. 4.

The Red Cross is offering anyone who gives blood from Dec. 21 through Jan. 7 a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt as an added incentive to donate, while supplies last.

And if for some reason you can’t give blood, there are still ways to help. The Red Cross needs volunteer drivers to deliver blood and platelets to local hospitals. To apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position or to learn more, visit

To learn more about donating or to find a blood drive near you, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

This Christmas and New Year’s, give the gift of blood and, as the Red Cross says, the gift of more life.