12/23/10 Planning ahead is one way to take the stress out of holiday gift giving. And when you plan to give the gift of life through the American Red Cross, you can make the most of your donation experience by following a few simple tips. 

“A lot of people say preparing for a great donation experience is just like preparing for a big event,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “That’s true, because helping to save a life is a truly remarkable thing to do.” 

Getting a good night’s sleep, having a good breakfast or lunch, and drinking extra water and fluids can help ensure a successful blood donation. Donors are also advised to avoid eating fatty foods, and to eat plenty of food rich in iron and Vitamin C in the days leading up to the donation. Wearing comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow is also recommended. 

“We also suggest that you spend 10 to 15 minutes relaxing in the refreshment area after your donation,” said Whitman. “It’s a way for you to rejuvenate by enjoying a drink and a snack, and to meet other donors who just helped save lives, too.” 

Donating blood is simple, and takes about an hour from the time you arrive until the time you leave. That’s an hour, Red Cross officials say, that could amount to a lifetime for someone who needs blood for ongoing or emergency medical care. 

“Blood is a gift that money can’t buy,” said Whitman. “It’s only something that one person can give to another. And that’s priceless.” 

If you donate from now until the end of December you will be entered into a weekly region-wide drawing for a $250 Visa gift card!  In addition, all donors from Dec. 20 through Jan. 31 will receive a coupon for a free donut from Dunkin’ Donuts.


Tuesday, Dec. 28, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Walmart, located at 2505 N. Oak Road in Plymouth.