SANFORD — With Christmas on Monday and the new year approaching, many say its time for a new beginning or a new resolution.

The American Red Cross is hoping a gift of blood or platelets will be among area resident’s new beginnings for 2018.

The lead up to the holidays is busy, and hence, blood donations  and platelet donations tend to flag, according to the Americna Red Cross.

Last year, nearly 64,000 fewer blood and platelet donations were given through the Red Cross during the seven weeks from Thanksgiving through the first week of January than the average during the rest of the year, Red Cross officials say.

“By taking just about an hour of time today, you can help save someone’s life within a few weeks or even days of your donation,” said Mary Brant, external communications manager of the Red Cross Northern New England Blood Services Region. “We’re asking donors to give now to help ensure blood is available when patients need it most.”

Blood is perishable and can only be replenished by volunteer donors, Brant said in a news release.

Red blood cells, the most transfused blood product, must be transfused within 42 days. Platelets, the tiny cells that form clots and help stop bleeding, must be transfused within just five days. More than half of all platelet donations go to cancer patients who may need platelet transfusions to prevent life-threatening bleeding during chemotherapy, she said.

The Journal Tribune hosted a blood drive on Dec. 13. If you missed it, there are a number of upcoming opportunities close to where you live:

• Acton, Dec. 26, noon to 5 p.m. at  Acton Fire/Rescue, 1725 Route 109

• Alfred, Jan. 9,1  6 p.m.,  at Alfred Masonic Hall, 165 Waterboro Road

• Biddeford, Dec, 30, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Walmart, 525 Alfred Road and on Jan. 15, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Southern Maine Health Care, 1 Medical Center Drive.

• Buxton, Dec 26, noon to 5 p.m., Buxton Town Hall, 185 Portland Road and Jan. 9, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., same location.

• Saco, Dec.27, noon to 5 pm., Hampton Inn Saco, 48 Industrial Park Road.

• Sanford, Dec. 28, noon to 6 p.m., North Parish Church, 893 Main Street; Jan. 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; SMHC Sanford Campus, 25 June St.; and on Jan. 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Toms of Maine, 27 Community Drive

• Wells, Jan. 6,  10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trailblazers Family Club, 102 Bills Lane.

Red Cross officials say all blood types are needed this winter. Platelet donations are especially encouraged the first week of the new year, which is among the most difficult  periods to collect enough platelets to meet patient needs.

Donation appointments can be  scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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