The Red Cross asks people to help meet need

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (WDTV)-- January is National Blood Donor Month and donating blood and platelets is a way to make a lifesaving impact in the new year.

The role of blood and platelet donors has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years.

Officials say this is in relation with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients.

This time of year, holiday schedules, weather conditions and illnesses impact donor turnout.

The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give regularly.

"We're always in constant need of blood. This blood goes for research, or for blood transfusions and emergencies. It's gets shipped over to various hospitals and trauma centers," said volunteer, Gary Strohlein.

To encourage donations, The Red Cross is giving out long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirts to people who donate by January 6.