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Red Cross offers chance to win $1,000

Phlebotomist Michael Hatcher, left, prepares Karen Mulford to donate blood Monday for the American Red Cross' "Give Something That Means Something" blood drive. Those who donate either whole blood or platelets will have a chance to win a $1,000 American Express gift card. At the blood donation center on Dawson Road, participants will also receive a Thanksgiving pie. Mulford's choice was cherry.

Phlebotomist Michael Hatcher, left, prepares Karen Mulford to donate blood Monday for the American Red Cross' "Give Something That Means Something" blood drive. Those who donate either whole blood or platelets will have a chance to win a $1,000 American Express gift card. At the blood donation center on Dawson Road, participants will also receive a Thanksgiving pie. Mulford's choice was cherry.

ALBANY, Ga. -- The American Red Cross expects a high demand for blood this holiday season and it has sweetened the pot for potential donors. Through Dec. 31, the "Give Something That Means Something" promotion gives each person who presents to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross a chance to a $1,000 gift card.

According to Red Cross sources, the card is usable toward rent, gas, food, or even for tickets to sporting events.

Those presenting at the blood donation center on Dawson Road will receive an added bonus -- a holiday pie. The pie offer is good through Sunday on any day but Thursday, said Patrick Best, donor recruitment representative.

"Donating blood is an opportunity for people to give the most important gift of all -- the gift of life," said Randy Edwards, CEO, American Red Cross, Southern Blood Services Region, in a recent press release. "The Red Cross depends on the generosity of volunteer donors to meet the needs of patients in our area and across the country."

Best said he was pleased with the "outpouring" of community assistance to meet increased demand for blood in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Now the challenge is to prepare for the holiday season, he said.

"The need for blood doesn't take a holiday," Best said. "One donation can save up to three lives and so we're urging residents to give something of themselves this holiday season."