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      Tis the season to save a life

      Tis the season to give and the local blood bank is asking everyone who can, to donate the gift of life.

      Mario Caro visits the United Blood Services every week to donate his plasma.

      "Just the thought of your children having cancer one day, at least you can help out by donating," Caro said.

      No blood is wasted.

      Red cells are used for surgery. Platelets are needed for cancer/leukemia patients. Plasma is needed for burn patients and shock victims.

      "Platelet donations are very needed because they're a component in the blood that helped people who have cancer and leukemia. It helps stop the bleeding, United Blood Services communications specialist Crystal Olvera said.

      Some 40 percent of blood donations in the rio Grande Valley come from high school students, and with the holiday breaks there tend to be fewer blood drives this time of year.

      "Although the demand never goes away, the supply does decrease, especially now as people are busy getting ready for the holidays they aren't thinking about donating blood, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance blood bank supervisor Kathryn Butler said.

      Some 175 pints of blood are needed every day in the Rio Grande Valley, but some blood types are in greater need.

      "In trauma situations when you don't know someone's blood type you need that o negative to use for them, Butler said.

      "It TMs kind of like a universal remote, it matches every brand," Olvera said.

      But whether you are A+ or O- or any type in between, your blood is needed.

      Nationwide less than 5 percent of the eligible population donates blood. In the Rio Grande Valley less than 2 percent of the eligible population donates."During the holidays we encourage everyone to give the gift of life because every pint saves three lives, Olvera said.

      The United Blood Services will be holding a special holiday raffle for donors next month.

      If you would like to donate you can visit the Harlingen location at 610 Ed Carey Drive or the McAllen location at 1400 S. 6th Street.


      Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.Wednesday and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

      You can donate blood every eight weeks. Up to six times a year.

      If everyone who donated once a year would donate twice a year, blood shortages could be eliminated in the Rio Grande Valley.