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During the busy holiday season, Red Cross is urging public to consider donating blood

Brian Richards, with the American Red Cross, keeps the supply of blood donations in order Wednesday during a blood drive in the Lakeland Auditorium at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. The Red Cross is urging the public to donate blood this holiday season. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR — Still searching for the perfect present to give this Christmas? For someone sickened by cancer treatments or seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash, the perfect present may just be a pint of blood.

“Our motto for the holidays is ‘give something that means something,’” says David Kelley, Red Cross donor recruitment representative, who is encouraging people to take time away from their busy holiday schedules to give blood.

There are two opportunities to give blood in the Willmar area during the holiday week. On Monday, Mamrelund Lutheran of Pennock will host a blood drive from 8 a.m. to noon and on Wednesday, donors can give blood from 1 to 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Willmar.

All blood donors receive a coupon for a free pint of frozen custard at the Willmar Culver’s restaurant through their “give a pint, get a pint” program and get a voucher for free tickets to a Timberwolves basketball game.

The Red Cross knows everyone is busy at the holidays, Kelley says, but ask people to remember that there are always patients receiving cancer treatments, people involved in traffic crashes or even those having knee and hip joint replacement surgeries need blood transfusions.

Somewhere in the country, a patient receives a blood transfusion every 2 seconds.

The Red Cross seeks to remind people that the need for blood is constant. “The patients don’t get a Christmas break,” Kelley says. “Keep them in mind this holiday season.”

The Red Cross sees a dramatic drop in blood donations after Dec. 15, Kelley says. A portion of that decrease comes because high school and college students go on holiday break from their schools. Between 20 and 25 percent of blood donations come from those young students.

Get more information by going to To make an appointment for the First Presbyterian Church drive, call Alysia at 320-235-1263.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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