Every day of every week, people need blood for emergency and ongoing medical care. It’s a need that doesn’t take a break, despite the season. About 39,000 blood donations are needed daily by hospital patients undergoing treatment for serious diseases like cancer and sickle cell, for surgery, and for trauma and burn care. “Collecting blood from volunteer donors isn’t something that can be put on hold or caught up on later since the need for blood is constant,” said Sharon Jaksa, CEO for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “We’d like everyone who can to consider donating blood now or in the next few weeks to celebrate spring. It could be a great way to renew yourself, and to bring the gift of life to someone in need.” The challenge, Red Cross officials say, is that while blood needs are constant, blood donors sometimes take a break, particularly during peak travel times like early spring. Blood donors who would otherwise give may wait until later to make and keep an appointment. In an effort to help increase donor turnout, the Red Cross has partnered with Meijer to offer every person who comes out to donate, the chance to win free groceries (a $250 value). In addition, everyone who attempts to donate in April will receive a free sample of Pacific Shaving Company’s shaving oil and a chance to win a Mother’s Day Out package (a $125 value) at a local salon and spa. In May, everyone who comes out to donate has a chance to win a $125 gift card to Lowe’s for dad as part of a “Dad’s to-do List” promotion. To schedule an appointment to donate, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-733-2767, or visit www.RedCrossBlood.org for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age, or 16 with parental permission in some states, meet weight and height requirements—110 pounds or more, depending on their height—and are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.