DETROIT (WWJ) – The American Red Cross is encouraging eligible blood donors to give one last gift this holiday season — and discover the true meaning of giving — by donating blood.

Busy holiday schedules and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can often mean fewer donors giving blood. But for patients with cancer or other illnesses that require blood transfusions, the need for blood is constant and doesn’t take a holiday break.

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The gift of a blood donation only takes about an hour and can give patients a chance to celebrate more holidays to come.

Eligible donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with type O negative, A negative or B negative.

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How to donate blood

To make an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.