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Demand increasing for blood donations
As Golden Isles residents give thanks this holiday week, the American Red Cross is asking them to give something specific to a community in need - their blood.

Between Thanksgiving and the celebration of the new year, the demand for blood rises dramatically, says Daniel Hines, account manager with the American Red Cross in Savannah. Though the need rises this time every year, the number of donors stopping in to give blood always declines.

To help supply local needs, like those of Southeast Georgia Health System and its hospitals in Brunswick and St. Marys, there will be two blood drives Tuesday in Glynn County - one on St. Simons Island and the other on Jekyll Island.

"We need every eligible donor that is available to come out to donate. Glynn County is a great community and we could help someone be thankful for the priceless gift of life this Thanksgiving," Hines said.

"We want to ensure that Southeast Georgia Heath System has the blood it needs for this time period, not only for the unfortunate accidents and trauma that may occur, but for the sick patients already in need as well."

Drives will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Simons Health and Fitness Center, 2929 Old Demere Road, and from 1 to 6 p.m. at Jekyll Presbyterian Church, 500 Riverview Drive.

Hines says he is hoping the local drives will collect a minimum of 55 units of blood.

"The Red Cross must collect nearly 40,000 pints of blood (nationally) each day to meet the needs of its hospitals and sick patients. That is equivalent to a 5,000-gallon fuel tanker," he said.

Hines says it's the volunteers and the coordinators who make saving lives possible. Organizers for these two drives, Catherine Flemming and Howard Sculthorpe, have had a level of commitment to the Red Cross mission that is immeasurable, he added.

"I am often told that we, the American Red Cross, supply the blood to the hospitals. This statement is often misunderstood. We do not supply the blood. We simply distribute it. It is the generous efforts of our selfless volunteer donors and sponsors that make giving and sustaining life possible," Hines said.

"I cannot say enough how appreciative I am for each donor that rolls up his sleeve and gives a pint of life, as well as a special thank you to every sponsor that volunteers their time and space."

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.

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