Many people never associate the giving of blood with Christmas. But, think about it. The One Whose birthday we celebrate came to give His blood so that we might live. The greatest gift mankind has ever had! Now, to pay it forward, the American Red Cross needs your help.

At hospitals and clinics across the state, the need for blood knows no season, but donations tend to drop this time of year. That's why officials are urging Kentuckians to consider rolling up their sleeves to give a lifesaving gift. Dan Fox of the American Red Cross says between school vacations, inclement weather and busy schedules, the number of donations declines over the holidays, while the need for blood in local hospitals remains constant.

"These could be car accident victims, trauma victims; they could be people undergoing surgery, women going through childbirth, premature babies, cancer patients. Every two seconds, somebody in this country needs a blood donation."

The American Red Cross estimates that one in ten people admitted to the hospital will require a blood transfusion. In Kentucky, donors must be at least 16 years old, in good health, and weigh more than 110 pounds. Sixteen-year-old donors require permission from parents.

Fox says many people don't think about giving blood until they hear about hospitals facing shortages, or there's been some sort of major tragedy, but he stresses that the blood donations need to be on hospital shelves before emergencies hit. 40 per cent of the nation is eligible to donate blood but less than ten per cent do so.

In Owensboro the Red Cross is located at 316 W. 3rd Street, Suite 1B. You can call them at 270-683-2438