Blood supplies are always in critical demand. For those inclined to help, there will be at least two opportunities to give blood in Hamilton County this month.

Saturday (Jan. 5) in Fishers from noon to 5 p.m. at Harley-Davidson of Indianapolis, 12400 Reynolds Drive, and Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at IU Health Saxony Hospital - Medical Office Building, 13000 East 136th St.

The American Red Cross encourages people to help meet the urgent need for blood and platelets by resolving to give blood this January – National Blood Donor Month.

Donating blood or platelets is a way to make a lifesaving impact in the new year for patients like Judy Janssen, who was diagnosed with end-stage autoimmune liver disease in 2016. Janssen received frequent blood transfusions – sometimes multiple times a week – until she underwent a liver transplant last January.

“Blood donors make a really big difference with very little effort,” said Janssen, who received dozens of transfusions before and during her transplant surgery. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for blood donations.”

The critical role of blood and platelet donors has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years during National Blood Donor Month, which coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients. Busy holiday schedules, extreme winter weather and seasonal illnesses often impact donor turnout this time of year.

The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to resolve to give blood or platelets regularly, beginning in January. To encourage donations immediately, all those who come to donate by Jan. 6 will get a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Make an appointment to donate blood or platelets by downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Another way to help keep the blood supply strong in the new year is to host a Red Cross blood drive. To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.