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I gave my first pint of blood 40 years ago in 1983. Since then I've given more than 50 gallons of blood, making me what they call a "milestone donor." Truth be told, I receive more through helping save lives this way, than is ever taken from me.

There is a real need for blood donors. Nationally, only 3 percent of the eligible population donates. We can do better! Every two seconds someone's life is saved by blood donations. It's not just accident victims or surgery patients who benefit from blood transfusions. Data shows that a quarter of our nation's blood supply is used by people battling cancer. Additionally, blood products aid in anemia, sickle cell disease, organ transplants, burn patients, shock and bleeding disorders, just to name a few.

January is National Blood Donor Month. Thank you to all my fellow donors out there who give the gift of life. However, we can't do it alone, we need your help too! Please find a few minutes this month, or anytime you are eligible, to stop by our Northern California Community Blood Bank in Eureka, or any of their bloodmobiles throughout our community and give the gift of life.

Many people are counting on you. The life you save may be someone you know. Who knows, it might even be mine. Call today and schedule a time, or just drop in.

Gene Joyce, Arcata

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