Red Cross Takes Labor Day Donations

By Laura Rogers | 

While most kicked back to enjoy the holiday, others were hard at work saving lives.

The American Red Cross held a blood drive to keep up with the demands that holiday weekends bring.

Scotty Hyde is passionate about donating blood. She's been giving the gift of life, nearly 25 years. "Donating blood is something I believe really, really strongly in, I've donated since I was in college," she said.

Scotty may already be a regular donor, but she's especially adamant about doing so on holidays, when supply doesn't always meet demand.

"Every holiday period there's a much higher incidence usually of accidents, a lot of drunk driving unfortunately," Hyde said.

The American Red Cross finds that at times they need blood the most; less people find time to give.

"Around the holidays, especially summer holidays when everybody's vacationing, is when we fall short the most," said Debbie Matthews, team leader with the Red Cross.

Only 5% of the population donates blood. Scotty is O-negative, meaning she's a universal donor.

"It's a very small thing that I can do. I've been here only an hour. It takes very little time; little effort and I can help several people. One pint helps several people," Hyde pointed out.

It takes 800 units to meet the supply of the Tennessee Valley region.

Matthews says if people prepare by donating before holidays hit, they can help the Red Cross avoid a shortage.

"You have a lot of travelers and the supply seems to get low because the hospitals use it a little bit more," Matthews said.

It may sometimes be tough to find donors on holidays, but for others, it's the perfect time to do so.

"Sometimes it's more convenient than during the work week. I try to give whenever I can," said one donor. So does Scotty, who says she's given gallons of blood over the years.

"It's a really simple way almost every person in America can help another human being," she said.

The American Red Cross reminds you that if everyone donated every couple of months, it would never face a shortage.

To donate blood, you must be healthy, at least 17-years-old and weigh 110-pounds, among other requirements.

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