ROANOKE, Va. -

Red Cross celebrates blood and platelet donors during National Blood Donor Month.

Throughout National Blood Donor Month this January, the American Red Cross is celebrating the lifesaving contribution blood and platelet donors make to modern healthcare.

On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

The Appalachian Blood Services Region is encouraging all eligible blood and platelet donors to make a New Year's resolution to help save lives by rolling up a sleeve now and throughout the year.

"I can't think of a better way to start the new year than by taking the time to give blood," said Page Gambill, CEO, American Red Cross Appalachian Blood Services Region. "This is one resolution that takes little time, about an hour, but has a tremendous impact -- helping to save as many as three lives with each donation."

It is no coincidence that National Blood Donor Month falls in January. Winter can often be a difficult time for blood donations because of cold and flu season, inclement weather and various activities surrounding the holiday season.

The Red Cross urges donors of all blood types - especially O negative, A negative and B negative - to schedule an appointment to donate blood.

Each appointment made and kept, and each unit of blood or platelets given, may offer hope to a patient in need.

How to donate blood:

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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.

Upcoming Blood Drives:

01/08/14     Charlotte Courthouse Amish     137 Vincent Store Road     Charlotte Court House      2:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/08/14     Christiansburg Rec Center     1600 North Franklin Street     Christiansburg     11:00 am -  5:00 pm
01/09/14     Holiday Shopping Center     1910 Virginia Avenue     Collinsville     12:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/09/14     Virginia Tech Student Services     100 Student Services Building - 0268     Blacksburg     10:00 am -  2:00 pm
01/09/14     Roanoke Valley Blood Donation Center     352 Church Avenue SW     Roanoke      7:30 am -  1:30 pm
01/10/14     Farmville Train Station     501 West Third Street     Farmville      1:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/10/14     Lynchburg Blood Donation Center     1900 Tate Springs Road     Lynchburg     12:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/10/14     Marlbrook Baptist Church     6926 N. Lee Highway     Raphine      1:00 pm -  5:00 pm
01/10/14     Independence VFW Building     72 Klondike Road     Independence     12:00 pm -  5:00 pm
01/11/14     Winns Creek Baptist Church     3088 Howard P Anderson Road     Halifax     10:00 am -  2:00 pm
01/11/14     Halesford Baptist Church Fellowship Hall     2485 Lost Mountain Road     Wirtz      9:00 am -  3:00 pm
01/12/14     Bethlehem Lutheran Church     7336 Timberlake Road     Lynchburg     10:00 am -  2:00 pm
01/13/14     Hot Springs Fire Department     Route 220     Hot Springs     12:00 pm -  5:00 pm
01/13/14     American Legion Post 126     1953 Magnolia Avenue     Buena Vista     12:30 pm -  5:00 pm
01/13/14     Skyline College     5234 Airport Road     Roanoke     12:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/13/14     Roanoke Valley Blood Donation Center     352 Church Avenue SW     Roanoke     12:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/14/14     Clifford Baptist Church     635 Fletchers Level Road     Amherst     12:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/14/14     AECOM Franklin Road     1315 Franklin Road     Roanoke      9:00 am -  1:00 pm
01/14/14     Grove United Methodist Church     1020 Tyler Avenue     Radford      1:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/14/14     Fairlawn Church of God     7858 Peppers Ferry Boulevard     Radford      1:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/14/14     New River Valley Blood Donation Center     250 South Main Street     Blacksburg     12:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/15/14     Rock Tenn Company     1801 Concord Turnpike     Lynchburg      9:00 am -  2:00 pm
01/15/14     Waynesboro Free Methodist Church     600 Hopeman Parkway     Waynesboro      2:00 pm -  6:00 pm
01/15/14     Virginia Tech Hokie Wellness     148 Southgate Center     Blacksburg      9:00 am -  2:00 pm
01/15/14     Lewis Gale Medical Center     1802 Braeburn Drive     Salem      9:30 am -  1:30 pm