Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., December 9, 2020 –Donating blood throughout the year is extremely important, but the winter months are typically marked by busy holiday schedules, inclement weather and seasonal illness, which makes it difficult for blood donors to make and keep donation appointments. Coupled with the added concern of COVID-19 safety, this holiday season will see a drop in the donation of critically needed blood throughout the United States.

Giving blood means giving the gift of life. Blood from donors helps with emergency health issues and everyday needs such as treatments for those who suffer from blood disorders. Chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments used to treat cancer can impact the body’s ability to generate healthy blood cells, so those undergoing cancer treatment routinely require blood transfusions, especially in patients whose cancer begins in the bone marrow. This includes blood-related cancers like leukemias, multiple myeloma, and lymphomas. Patients who are on a daily treatment regimen need their blood type readily available at all times.

Everyone can feel safe giving blood this season knowing precautions have been taken to help protect your health. In the Blood Donor Room at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, numerous safety protocols have been put in place to protect donors and staff members. These include temperature checks, required face coverings, social distancing requirements in waiting areas and donation spaces, and strict sanitary and disinfection protocols.

Donating blood is simple and usually takes under one hour. To be eligible to donate blood, one must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

Are you in the giving spirit? There are many patients in need of the gift of blood during these challenging times. Donate blood and platelets locally at the RWJUH Blood Donor Room. For information, call 732-235-8100, Ext. 221 or book an appointment online at

Athena Kritharis, MD is a hematologist/oncologist in the Leukemia/Lymphoma/Hematologic Malignancies Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.