A Different Kind Of Christmas Red

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There is an important need during the holidays that may not be as obvious as collecting toys for children or food for local families. And students from the Payson High School Key Club are asking Rim country residents to roll up their sleeves to help.

Key Club sponsor and PHS teacher Barb DeWeese says it's not something you might think about, or even want to think about during Christmas.

"During the holidays, because of bad weather and so many people traveling, there are a lot of bad accidents," she said. "There are also a lot of people who plan their surgeries. Unfortunately, there are few people who give this time of year."

Last week, Arizona United Blood Services made an emergency plea for donors. While more than 3,300 people responded to the call, Arizona hospital patients required 3,500 blood transfusions during the same timeframe. Hospital orders continue to outpace donations. As of this morning (Friday), 357 hospital orders could not be filled due to short supplies. These are patients who could just as easily be our family members -- waiting for life-saving blood.

In response to this community emergency, the Payson High School Key Club is teaming up with United Blood Services Dec. 30 to help encourage people to donate blood during the most difficult week of the holiday season.

Donors who give blood Tuesday will receive a T-shirt in appreciation for helping to replenish Arizona's blood supply. The Key Club blood drive will take place 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Drink plenty of water, eat a meal prior to donating and bring your ID if you plan to attend.

United Blood Services supplies 80 percent of Arizona's blood needs and is the blood provider for Payson Regional Medical Center.

For more information, or to make an appointment to donate, call DeWeese at (928) 474-3178, or (928) 474-2233 or visit www.unitedbloodservices.org. For donor eligibility questions, call (800) 288-2199, ext. 5840. Walk-ins are also welcome.

"People that choose to do this are truly giving the gift of life," DeWeese said. "They make a difference."

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