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Incentives abound for DC blood donors before New Year’s

Shelby Campbell, of Montgomery County, Maryland, just turned 3 years old. She has a genetic disorder called beta thalassemia that requires she get a transfusion every 21 days. (Courtesy American Red Cross)

WASHINGTON — Two organizations that collect blood for use in the D.C. area are asking for donations now. That’s because car accidents, cancer treatments and emergency surgeries don’t stop for the holidays.

But donors don’t make as much time to give in late December as they do during other parts of the year.

Donate at an Inova Blood Donor Center before the end of the year and you’ll be given a stocking with a scratch-off gift card worth at least $5, and up to $100. A variety of gift cards are available, from Target, Starbucks, Walmart, Subway, Amazon and Visa.

“No card that you scratch off will be empty,” Heather Wade of Inova Blood Donor Services said. “Everybody’s a winner — from patients to our donors.”

Inova Donor Centers in Virginia offering the gift cards are in Annandale, Centerville, and Sterling.

The American Red Cross is sponsoring about 150 blood drives in the region in the next few weeks.

“During the holiday season, patients don’t get a break,” Regina Boothe-Bratton of the American Red Cross said, noting that one of those patients is three-year-old Shelby Campbell of Montgomery County.

Every 21 days, Shelby needs a blood transfusion. “She has a rare disorder, without those transfusions, she will die,” Boothe-Bratton said.

People feeling inspired by the holiday season to do something for others might not have money to help feed the needy, or to buy toys for tots. But, Boothe-Bratton said, nearly everyone can donate blood.

“Anyone who donates blood is a hero, because you’re saving a life,” she said. “You’re a superhero because not only are you saving one person’s life, but you’re saving up to three people’s lives. And, that’s significant.”

In addition to Inova offering scratch-off gift cards that are worth either $5, $10, $25, $50, or $100 at three donation centers, donors can receive $10 Amazon gift cards at two upcoming Inova Blood drives:

  • On Dec. 25, Inova Blood Donor Services is partnering with the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center for their Annual D25 Blood Drive. This year’s blood drive will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Ave NW). Donors will receive one $10 Amazon gift card per donation.
  • On Dec. 26, Inova Blood Donor Services will be at Reston Town Center near the Ice Rink from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Donors will receive one $10 Amazon gift card per donation.

You can learn more about Inova Blood Donor Services and make an appointment online. You can find American Red Cross donation locations or make an appointment here.


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