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Give Blood


We all expect blood to be there for us, but barely a fraction of those who can give do. Yet sooner or later, virtually all of us will face a time of great vulnerability in which we will need blood. And that time is all too often unexpected.

From its beginning, the American Red Cross has formed a community of service, of generous, strong and decent people bound by beliefs beyond themselves. The honor, spirit and resources of the American people comes forth with neighbors helping neighbors in need - during earthquakes, floods, fires, storms - and also for the deeply personal and often quiet disasters that require a gift of blood.


Saturday, April 17 Second Congregational Church* 8:30am-1:30pm
Monday, May 3 Temple Sholom* 1:30-6:30pm
Friday, May 14 St. Mary Parish* 11:45am-5:30pm
Wednesday, June 9 Town Hall 10:00am-3:00pm
Saturday, June 12 St. Catherine's* 8:30am-1:30pm

*Drive recurs every 56 days. Get into the cycle and become a regular donor!

CALL TODAY: 869-8444 to give the "gift of life" in Greenwich, or 1-800-GIVE-LIFE for an appointment at any Red Cross blood drive in Connecticut. Appointments help us plan to have enough staff ready to take your donation quickly! Remember to eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids prior to your donation, and bring ID. Have you traveled extensively out of the U.S.? If so, please call nursing information at 1-800-214-9455 to check your eligibility.


  1. Eligibility
    To donate you must be 17 years old, or older. Weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health. There is no maximum age limit.

  2. Diet
    It is advisable to eat a low-fat well-balanced meal at least 4 hours before giving blood. Also drink plenty of fluids the day before and the day of your donation.

  3. Donation Interval
    Donors are eligible every 56 days.

  4. Identification
    All donors will be asked for identification including their name, social security number and birth date.


  1. Drink extra fluids before your donation.
    You can begin to drink extra fluids the day before your donation. Water and juices are great, but avoid a lot of caffeine.

  2. Be sure to eat.
    Don't skip breakfast or lunch on the day of your blood donation. Your body will need extra energy to donate a pint of blood. You will also feel better after donating if you have eaten a meal a few hours before. Women should eat foods high in iron before donating in order to ensure a safe hemoglobin level.

  3. No strenuous exercise before or after donating.
    If you do exercise before donating, be sure to drink even more fluids to replace what you lost during your workout.

  4. Don't drink hot liquids, smoke, or chew gum just prior to donating.
    They can cause your temperature to be falsely elevated.

  5. Wear comfortable clothing.
    Wear clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow, as well as something that you feel comfortable in while on the bed during the donation process.

  6. Relax.
    You may feel a little nervous, especially if this is your first time donating blood. Most people find that donating blood is much easier than they imagined and fun too!


  1. Why can a potential donor be deferred?

    There are many common reasons for deferring potential donors, ranging from age and weight to blood pressure and health history. Every donor is evaluated individually by qualified collection staff personnel. All blood donors must meet certain standard health requirements, which are established to protect the donors as well as the patients receiving the blood products. Even "regular" donors, who give blood as often as every eight weeks, must be screened before each donation. There are two types of deferrals - temporary and indefinite. Some deferrals may require additional review by a blood center physician. Indefinite deferrals are usually considered permanent or until new information is available.

  2. What are some common reasons for temporary deferral?

    Low Iron (Hemoglobin) - The reason for this deferral is that the test for the iron (hemoglobin) level in the potential donor's blood was lower than the acceptable level for blood donors. The nurse confirms the low hemoglobin by performing a hematocrit test. If it is unusually low the potential donor will be advised to see their physician. Since these levels may change over time, the deferral may only be temporary. Blood Pressure - The blood pressure is measured as part of the health exam. The results are recorded on the potential donor's physical findings card. If the potential donor is on medication, they should continue taking it as prescribed by their doctor. The next time they wish to donate, their blood pressure will be taken again and it may be within the Red Cross' acceptable range. Medication - It is important to remember that taking medication does not usually defer a donor. The reason for taking the medication, however, may result in a deferral. If a potential donor is deferred, the nurse will make them aware of the required waiting period before their next donation.

  3. Who is indefinitely deferred?

    A few blood donors are indefinitely or permanently deferred, including people who have cancer, serious heart disease, hepatitis, or are at risk for AIDS. In mid-October 2001, the American Red Cross implemented a new deferral policy for blood donors due to the spread of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of "mad cow" disease. This always-fatal disease has spread from the United Kingdom to other countries in Europe. There is enormous scientific uncertainty, no blood test and a long latency period (5 to 10 years) before the disease can be detected. There are no known cases of transmission through human blood transfusion, but animal models have shown it is possible to transmit vCJD through blood.

  4. As of mid-October 2001, the following people are restricted from giving blood to the Red Cross:

    • Anyone who has lived in the United Kingdom for a cumulative total of three months since 1980.
    • Anyone who has lived in any European country or combination of countries (including the United Kingdom) for a cumulative total of six months since 1980.
    • Anyone who has received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom since 1980.