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Canadian Blood Services put out an urgent call on Dec.18 for eligible donors to fill 35,000 open appointments by Jan 6.

United Blood Services of the Dakotas is asking for help to make up for the large decrease in blood donations this holiday season.

Jhoanna Delrosario, Canadian Blood Services territory manager who helped organize the event at Eau Claire, said the refugees who will give on New Year's Day are making an important impact.

MacDonald also says that walk-ins are always welcome especially around this time of year, and says most people are in and out within an hour.

- December 27 to December 29, from 9 a.m.to 1 p.m, and 3:30 p.m.to 7:30 p.m.

O-negative blood is in particular demand, since that is "the universal blood type" compatible with everyone.

Sam Nammoura, spokesman for the group, told the Calgary Herald: "In Syria, the donation of blood is considered the highest form of loyalty to the community".

Platelets pose a particularly hard challenge. We get that during the holiday season people are travelling. Patients with serious bleeding or those undergoing cancer treatments rely on platelet donations, but with a shelf life of only seven days, the need for platelets is pressing and ongoing.

"I donate for several reasons", said Joe Michielson, a donor at the Lethbridge blood clinic.

Bring valid identification. If you have donated before, you will need your blood donor card. "It's easy to sign up and book your first appointment online or via our mobile phone app".

Following this a staff member will go over your questionnaire with you to confirm your answers and give your finger a quick prick to check your hemoglobin levels and test your blood pressure.