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OTTUMWA — While the holidays give people a much-needed break from the routine, they also create a break for blood donations. The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is hoping to keep people on track with donations with several end-of-year promotions.

Donations given through Dec. 15 at the Ottumwa donor center or at mobile blood drives will earn a voucher for a long-sleeve “Holiday Cheer” shirt. Donations given until Dec. 1 will earn triple points in the center’s donor loyalty store and entry in a “Critical Week” drawing for a $500 gift card.

Blood donations typically drop during the holidays as people schedule other events and are on the road traveling. But the need doesn’t change. Patients still need treatment and surgery. Burns and vehicle crashes still create emergency needs for transfusions. So the blood center is asking that people carve out a little bit of time this holiday season to donate. It only takes an hour, and anyone age 17 (16 with a signed parental permission form) or older who weighs at least 110 pounds and is in general good health can donate.

Donations can be scheduled by calling 1-800-747-5401 or online www.bloodcenterimpact.org. Mobile users can schedule appointments through the center’s IMPACT app, which is available for both iOS and Android users.

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