Urgent need for blood donations at Red Cross this Labor Day weekend

Regular blood donors are on vacation, but there's always a need for blood.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Labor Day Weekend: It’s one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, but that also means it’s one of the most crucial times to donate to the Red Cross of Western Massachusetts. Regular blood donors are on vacation, but there’s always a need for blood.

“I’ve had people I know that have needed to receive platelets, and I feel like if I have the opportunity to do it than I should help,” said Geri McCarthy of Agawam. She said a long weekend makes it the perfect time to spend a little time giving the gift of life. “Actually I have more time on a holiday weekend, so it’s an opportunity,” McCarthy added. She’s been donating platelets regularly for years.

The Red Cross of Western Massachusetts is asking anyone age 17 or older, in good health, and weighing at least 110 pounds to consider donating blood this Labor Day weekend.

Saturday, they offered blood drives in Granville and Belchertown and at their Blood Donation Center on Brookdale Drive in Springfield. There were even incentives such as free t-shirts and a raffle for free movie theater tickets, if people donated.

That center will be open Sunday and Monday from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Donors said it takes between a half hour and an hour to donate a pint of blood. It takes about 2 hours to donate platelets, but they said that’s time well spent. Wendy Martel has been donating whole blood for years but was donating platelets for the second time Saturday. She said, “Hey look. I can’t move, so I have to relax. And I get to pick out a movie. Does it get much better than that on a Saturday morning?”

According to the Red Cross, one pint of blood donation can save up to three lives.

“You can save lives. That’s kind of what it’s all about…I have a rarer blood type. I have B- which is like one in every 10,000 people so they usually call me when they need blood anyway, but that’s just one of the reasons,” said Kim Aubrey of Holyoke. She donates blood with her husband every 56 days, which is the exact recommended waiting period between donations, to allow blood to replenish.

Another reason, donors said, is you just never know when you’ll be in need of blood and grateful someone donated the gift of life for you.

Click here for information on how to donate blood.

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