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Spread the joy of the season giving blood

With the holidays just around the corner, family and friends come together to share family traditions and the joy of the season. As you gather together and exchange gifts with loved ones, the American Red Cross asks eligible individuals to remember to share the gift of life with those in need this holiday season by giving blood.

"The blood supply is particularly vulnerable throughout the holiday season because donors are traveling to see family and friends and forget to make an appointment to donate blood," said Dr. David Mair, interim CEO of the local Red Cross Blood Services North Central Region. "Winter weather can also affect blood donations. Giving blood now can help build the blood supply throughout the season, ensuring enough is on hand for patients with serious medical needs."

Upcoming blood donation opportunities include:

•December 16 - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Armory, 311 Broadway Street, Alexandria.

•December 23 - 1 to 6 p.m. at Viking Plaza, 3015 Highway 29 South, Alexandria.

•December 29 - Noon to 6 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 605 Douglas County Avenue, Alexandria.

•December 30 - Noon to 6 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 605 Douglas County Avenue, Alexandria.

To donate blood, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit to make an appointment or for more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Eligible donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with a signed Red Cross parental-guardian consent form where state permits, must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health.