SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Now that Thanksgiving has passed and with Christmas right around the corner, this is typically the time of year when blood and platelet donations drop -- but the need is still the same.
That's why Vitalant, a local community blood center, is encouraging anyone who can donate, to come in the month of December.
"There are so many procedures that are often taken for granted that simply would not be possible without people rolling up their sleeves, taking an hour out of their day, donating blood and helping save a life," said Kevin Adler, a spokesperson for Vitalant.
For Brent Hores, donating platelets is a monthly activity.
"There's no pain. I don't feel a thing," Hores said.
Armed with headphones and movies, he's been coming in on the first of every month for three years, in honor of his dad who went through rigorous cancer treatments before he died in 2020.
"He had to go in for a lot of platelet replacements, so I decided that in honor of him, that I would start donating platelets every month on the monthiversary of his death," he said. "It means a lot to me now, and it's kind of my opportunity to reconnect with him a little bit in some way."
But the empty chairs around him tell a bit of a different story.
Vitalant says this time of year historically sees the fewest donors giving blood.
So far, they're seeing about a 20% drop in donors, despite recent FDA changes expanding eligibility.
"One, we don't do any school blood drives over the holidays because school is out," Adler said. "Businesses have employees that aren't coming to the office, so we have fewer business sponsored or business supported blood drives. On top of that, people are sick sometimes, and they're just not healthy enough to donate blood."
But the need for blood hasn't changed.
Adler says 25% of all donations go to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
"It is extremely important, it is extremely needed, and you would feel great after you donate. You would feel like 'I'm doing something wonderful,' 'I'm helping somebody out,' and that's extremely important during the holidays, because fewer people are donating," he said.
If you donate at any of the six Bay Area Vitalant locations anytime between now and Dec. 17, you can get a $10 gift card.
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