As you give presents this holiday, don't forget the gift of life.
The American Red Cross urges you to take some time and donate blood over the holiday season. Sarah Stevermer adds the need for platelets is pretty high right now.
"They only have a shelf life of five days. So it's important that people come in and donate regularly in order to make sure that there is a stable supply for patients."
Don't expect to get paid, though. Stevermer says donors are paid for their time when they give platelets used to make medications and drugs, but the American Red Cross collects platelets for patient use.
"Platelets are used a lot of times for cancer patients, people who have received organ transplants; it's just one of the blood products that they need in order to feel better when they receive their treatment."
Stevermer says it takes longer to donate platelets than for whole blood donations — about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Christmas Day is the only day of the year they do not accept donations. Otherwise, they are available 364 days a year.