Greater Nashua blood donation could save a life

Were you unable to donate blood this weekend during Saturday’s winter blood drive in Nashua?

Well, cheer up. There are a dozen other opportunities coming up in Greater Nashua this month to ensure the American Red Cross has enough blood on hand to meet any emergency during the traditionally challenging winter holiday season.

On Saturday, nearly 100 people showed up in the first two hours to donate blood during the Red Cross blood drive at the Radisson Hotel.

“We always need healthy, willing donors to help keep the blood supply at safe levels,” said Tom Houle, a Red Cross blood services representative, during Saturday’s blood drive.

“Our job is to keep blood on the shelves. … Any type of disaster or tragedy or something, blood has to be waiting on the shelves to save lives.”

Why is it important to donate blood this month?

For starters, fewer and fewer people are donating blood these days, according to the Red Cross, and it’s during the historically slow post-Christmas season – when Americans tend to be busy with other things – that the demand for blood grows.

During the past three years, for example, 1 million fewer people have donated blood nationally. Since less than 10 percent of the population donates blood anyway, that is a particularly troubling trend.

In fact, the Red Cross reported this past summer that the national blood supply was at a 15-year low, which it attributed to a number of factors beyond the traditional summer doldrums: severe storms in some parts of the country, extreme heat in others, and a Fourth of July holiday that fell smack-dab in the middle of the week. That meant longer vacations for potential donors and fewer blood drives hosted by the nation’s many businesses.

If you have donated blood before, you know how important it is and the sense of satisfaction you get from doing so. If you haven’t, now would be an excellent time to help the Red Cross – and potentially one of your neighbors – in an emergency.

Potential donors must be at least 17 years old – or 16 with parental permission – weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Staff members will check your temperature and pulse, draw a drop of blood from your finger to determine its iron level, and ask some general health-related questions.

Here is a list of this month’s area blood drives:

• Tuesday: 1-6 p.m., Londonderry Lions Hall, Londonderry.

• Wednesday: 3:15-7:30 p.m., St. Christopher Church, Nashua.

• Thursday: 1-6 p.m., St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Nashua; 1:30-6:30 p.m., VFW Post 4368, Milford; 3-8 p.m., St. Patrick’s Parish Hall, Pelham.

• Friday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Promises To Keep, Derry.

• Jan. 15: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., St. John Neumann Church, Merrimack.

• Jan. 16: 12:30-6 p.m., Bedford Old Town Hall, Bedford.

• Jan. 17: 2-7 p.m., Elks Lodge, Nashua.

• Jan. 18: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Merrimack Premium Outlets, Merrimack.

• Jan. 19: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Messiah Lutheran Church, Amherst.

• Jan. 22: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., The Elks Lodge, Nashua.

• Jan. 24: 1-6 p.m., Windham Presbyterian Church, Windham; 2-7 p.m., St. Paul Lutheran Church, Amherst.

• Jan. 25: 1-7 p.m., St. Jude Parish, Londonderry.

• Jan. 30: Noon-5 p.m., Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Nashua.

To make an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org.