The drive will be held on Monday, Dec. 6, at Paynesville Lutheran Church from 1 to 7 p.m. The focus is on Type O blood, but other donors will not be excluded.
According to the Red Cross, 41 percent of people in the five-state region have Type O blood, while 45 percent of blood collected by the Red Cross needs to be Type O to meet the needs of health care.
People with Type O blood, Rh negative, are known as "universal donors" because Type O blood can be given to people of any blood type. Type O blood that is Rh positive may be given to all positive blood types.
In emergencies or when supplies of a particular blood type are low, Type O blood may be transfused, saving lives.
"(The Red Cross) uses more Type O during the holiday than any other blood," said Renae Wirkkula, who is coordinating the local drive.
Using a list of previous donors to the Red Cross, around 180 local people with Type O blood were called for the special drive. "The Red Cross is hoping to have between 80 and 100 usable units come from this drive," said Wirkkula.
The blood will go to St. Paul for processing, but the Paynesville Area Health Care System receives its blood from the Red Cross, so some of the blood makes it back to our community.
The drive will be open to first-time donors and people of other blood types, as well. Anyone inter-ested can make an appointment for giving on Dec. 6 by calling Wirkkula at 320-243-4399 or Tammy Stanger at 320-243-3563.
The law requires you to be 17 years of age to donate. You also need to weigh 110 pounds and wait 56 days between donations. For questions about eligibility call the Red Cross at 1-800-426-2164.
"Blood cannot be manufactured," reads a Red Cross slogan. "It can only come from people like you."
Wirkkula called it "the gift of life," an appropriate offering for the holiday season.
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