The holiday season is fast approaching, and the Oklahoma Blood Institute invites area residents to consider giving the gift of life by donating blood and blood products this fall.

OBI will host three important blood drives this month in Wagoner County that will help keep blood supplies on hand at area hospitals for when they are needed.

In Wagoner, a drive will be held Sunday, Nov. 10 at the First Christian Church in Wagoner, 415 N.E. 2nd St. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and another will be held Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Wagoner Middle School gymnasium.

In Coweta, a drive is planned Friday, Nov. 15 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at BancFirst Coweta, 14269 S. Highway 51.

Anyone who has ever donated before, or even considered it, is invited to do so at one of these events.

“The blood supply is in good shape right now thanks to OBI blood donors taking the time to give,” said OBI Account Consultant Lucy Laird. “With Thanksgiving just around the corner, however, the need for blood always goes up and collections go down due to travel.

“I encourage all healthy blood donors to take the time to give blood to help ensure the blood supply is readily available for the upcoming holiday seasons.”

Laird reminds in less than one hour, a volunteer blood donor can help up to three patients in Oklahoma.

Anyone who is healthy and 16 years of age (with parental permission) or older can make a life-saving difference for their fellow Oklahomans by giving blood. For every one donation, three people can be helped.

OBI relies solely on 1,200 volunteer blood donors a day to meet the needs of patients at more than 160 hospitals and medical facilities as well as all air ambulances statewide.

Blood can be donated every 56 days while platelets can be given as often as every seven days, up to 24 times a year.

To sign up for the Wagoner blood drive, contact Amy Cantrell at acantrell@wagonerps.org or by calling the high school at 918-485-5553.

To sign up for the Coweta drive, contact Shannon Lawley at 918-486-2148.

Walk-ins are most welcome, however appointments are encouraged.

Donors at either event will be given the choice of an OU or OSU bedlam T-shirt while supplies last.

According to Laird, bringing awareness to the daily need for blood at area hospitals is an important way to encourage donors when a drive takes place near them.