It's only a few days before 2016 rolls in, and the American Red Cross is already getting ready to hold blood donation drives to kick the year off. If you ever wrote "do a good deed" or "take better care of myself" on your list of New Year's Resolutions, you should make it a point to donate blood in January, the National Blood Donor Month.

Donating blood isn't only beneficial to whoever will receive a transfusion but to the person who is donating as well since it has health benefits. Of course, even if you don't think about your personal advantage, wouldn't it be reassuring to know that, perhaps, someone out there in dire need of blood was saved by yours?

The Red Cross is doing its best to reach its goal of collecting 175,000 blood and platelet donations during the final two weeks of the year and, with a goal that needs to be satisfied in just 14 days, you get an idea of how much blood donation is really needed in the country. The good news is that you can do something to alleviate the situation. Here's what you need to know.

Where To Donate

Red Cross has organized blood donation drives all over the country and donating is easy.

Kansas will have blood donation drives at the following dates and sites:

Great Bend: Dec. 28 from 11:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., at the Prince of Peace Parish Center and on Jan. 7 from 1:30 A.M to 3:15 P.M. at Club 1 Fitness, 3806 Broadway Ave.

Larned: Dec. 29 from 12:00 NN to 6:00 P.M. at the Larned Community Center and on Jan. 8 at the Pawnee Valley Community Hospital from 10:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M.

Rozel: Jan. 7 at Pawnee Heights High School from 11:30 A.M. to 4:15 P.M.

North Carolina is in great need of blood too since the extra blood the Red Cross kept were sent to South Carolina after the hurricane. A New Year's Eve blood drive will be held and there will be Red Cross bloodmobiles parked at New Bern Mall along Martin Luther King Blvd., NC from 10:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M.

California is also actively supporting the blood donation drives since there are several drives organized throughout the state. From Jan. 2 until Jan. 15, several locations in Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Mountain View, San Jose and Sunnyvale blood donation centers and schools have mobilized to urge people to donate blood.

For more detailed information on where Red Cross will have blood donation drives, you can download the American Red Cross Blood Donor Application or visit the American Red Cross website and enter your zip code to see a listing of all blood donation drives in your area.

How To Donate

There are four easy steps to donating blood but you can also cut it down to two or three.

1. Registration. Volunteers will orient you on the basics of donating blood such as the eligibility requirements and ask for information needed for their records. They will also ask you to present your donor identification card (I.D.) or two valid I.D.s. You can skip this part at the donation site if you fill in the required information via Rapidpass and go straight to the next step.

2. Mini check-up. To ensure that you are healthy enough to donate blood, you will be given a mini check-up to determine your hemoglobin and cholesterol levels, as well as check for indicators of other diseases which could disqualify you as a donor.

3-4. Donation + Rest. The donation can go from 10 minutes to two hours, depending on what you're donating. If it is regular blood you're donating, you can be out of the site in 30 minutes or less, split between a 10 minute donation and 10-20 minutes of rest and snacking. If, however, you are donating red cells, plasma or platelets, it will take a longer time.

 Why you should donate

1. For one, you get a free health check-up. The mini check-up is required before each donation and doctors screen for any disease that may disqualify you from becoming a donor, which in turn means that, should you pass the requirements, you are assured that your health is of good standing. However, should you get disqualified, you can immediately seek medical attention for the disease that was detected, few of the possibilities of which are: Cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and tuberculosis. Red Cross has a complete list under its eligibility criteria.

2. Aside from that, donating blood helps your body get rid of excess iron which can reduce your risk for heart disease and some cancers that thrive when there is excess iron in your system.

3. You burn more calories lying down while donating blood than spending a lazy afternoon after the holidays since a one-time blood donation can burn off approximately 650 Kilocalories.

4. The need for blood is constant and your blood will save lives. It's not even just a mere possibility because that is the reality of the situation.


5. Unlike The Force, blood does not choose sides. It doesn't matter if Santa left you coals in your Christmas sock, read number four again.

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