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Step up for the community

Giving the life-sustaining gift of blood will pay off in so many different ways

It's that time of year when accidents increase and more people call on the good graces of others to save their lives in the emergency or operating rooms at local hospitals.

But it's also the time of year when people are on vacation, traveling and enjoying what little good weather the area has seen this summer.

Busy people often overlook the importance of donating blood at this time of year. The American Red Cross reports the typical drop in summer donations this year was preceded by a lower-than-normal number of donations this spring, meaning the need in the Northwest is critical.

It's up to volunteers to help provide the supply needed for a busy summer. If you haven't invested the time and put up with the slight discomfort of donating blood before, now is the time.

It doesn't cost money to donate. It's simply a matter of finding a donation drive nearby and spending the couple hours filling out forms and donating.

Visit redcrossblood.org, click on the link 'Find a local blood drive,' enter your zip code and make an appointment. Eligible blood donors also can call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to find a blood drive or to make an appointment.

Any blood type is welcome, but the most common types, A-positive and 0-positive are needed the most, while 0-negative is useful because this blood type can be used on anyone needing a transfusion.

Remember, donors must be at least 17, 110 pounds, depending on height and be in good general health.

Here are upcoming blood drive locations in the next few weeks in our local area:

* July 22, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Tualatin, 20400 S.W. Teton Ave.

* July 23, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tigard Convenience Site, Tigard Church of God

15670 S.W. 98th Ave., Tigard. (Donation types include blood, double red cell donations)

* July 23, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lake Oswego Farmers' Market, Millennium Plaza Park,

300 First St., Lake Oswego

* Aug. 1, 2 to 7 pm., Southwest Church of Christ, 9725 S.W. Durham Road, Tigard

* Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lake Oswego City Hall, 380 A Ave., Lake Oswego

* Aug. 6, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Union Pacific Family Picnic, Amalgamated Transit Union No. 757, 7805 SE Oaks Parks Way, Portland

* Aug. 11, 2 to 7 p.m., Willamette Christian Church, 3153 S Brandywine Drive,

West Linn

* Aug. 12, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Lightspeed Aviation, 6135 Jean Road,

Lake Oswego

The gift of blood is one of the most important gifts we can give. Help others or help yourself. The life you save or aid by donating blood may be a complete stranger's, a close friend's, a family member's … or possibly even your own. Please give. It's the right thing to do.