Blood donations are way down, so the American Red Cross is urging Mainers to roll up their sleeves and save a life.

I chatted this week with Mary Brant of the American Red Cross about why it's so challenging to find donors in the summer. She told me about a survey that showed that only about 3% of people give blood on a regular basis. And, in the summer, that number drops even more because folks are going on vacation and aren't available to donate. And, of course, all those vacationers in Maine and the added traffic means that the need can go up in a hurry.

So, the Red Cross is asking that people take the time to donate. It will only take about an hour out of your day. If you've never given blood before, the process is easy. It starts with a quick check-up, during which they'll check your temperature, blood pressure, and then you get a tiny pinprick so they can check your iron levels. Once that's done, you'll be put on a table or bed to donate. It takes about ten minutes to complete your donation, and then you can sit down and have some juice and sweets to help your body recover, allow you to start feeling better, and you can be on your way.

If the thought of waiting around the donor center for an opening doesn't fit with your summer schedule, you can make an appointment, so it cuts the wait time. Just log onto the American Red Cross website for information about donor centers and their operating hours,.

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