Family gives the gift of life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Family gives the gift of life

November 20, 2005

Albany- Blood donations have been slow. The holiday's however are one of the busiest times for the American Red Cross. Blood supplies only last for 42 days and platelet donations can only be kept for five.

In this season of giving, one family got together and decided their gift this holiday season would be the gift of life. The need continues to grow, especially as the holiday's close in. It's a need Athena Zaikarite and her family are helping to fill one pint at a time and this time Athena is joining in.

"I've always wanted to, but never really had the encouragement to actually go and do it," said Athena Zaikarite, First time donor.

The Zaikarites brought the entire family, in hopes that when they're old enough, everyone will give.

"I think that it makes them less anxious when they get around the needles even when Lord forbid something would happen to them and they have to go to the emergency room and have to get blood drawn. It makes them more relaxed," said Tracy Zaikarite, Blood donor.

Even if they have to summon up the courage to do it.

"A little nervous, but it's worth it, I mean a little bit of my blood or somebody's life," said Athena.

"People during holiday time don't donate, more people out traveling more accidents, less blood," said Cecelia Johnson, American Red Cross Register Nurse, Team Supervisor.

"Anything that you can do to help is wonderful, but especially around the holiday's with everybody traveling, I think it's really important," said Tracy.

Now is the time when donations are needed the most. All types are needed including platelet donors.

"If you're a platelet donor and haven't donated in a while call the center," said Johnson.

It's something this first time donor will do again.

"If my parents were with me I'd go and do it again," said Athena.

Something the entire family can feel good about, giving.

"We're saving somebody's lives so it's a good feeling," Athena.

The American Red Cross will host many community blood drives over the next month. The next is Monday, November 21 at Sherwood Baptist Church from one to six. You can also contact the Albany chapter of the American Red Cross for a list of blood drives.

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