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      Red Cross promotes World Series blood donation challenge

      The Red Cross is in urgent need of platelets from blood since their shelf-life is only 5 days.

      Call it a healthy competition to help those with health problems.

      The official numbers aren't in yet, but the Red Cross is promoting a challenge between the Massachusetts Red Cross chapters and the Missouri-Illinois chapters to see who can collect the most blood through the end of the World Series.

      Blood donations are needed year-round across the United States, but in even more demand are platelets from blood.

      Platelets are the part of the blood needed to clot an open wound or a bruise.

      They're more time-sensitive, too. That's why the need is so great, according to Columbia Blood Donation Center supervisor Joshua Lee.

      "The shelf-life for whole blood is six weeks, whereas shelf-life for platelets is only 5 days, so we can only store for 5 days...therefore we need donors to give platelets constantly," said Lee.

      No special qualifications are needed to donate platelets. If you're in good health and can give blood, you're qualified to donate platelets...it just takes more time.

      Donating blood takes about 10-15 minutes, whereas giving platelets takes up to 2 hours.

      Jason Hull said he's been giving blood since he was 17 years old, and recognized the need for platelets.

      "It does take more time, but it is rewarding because you know you're having a bigger impact. It's really great because they are nice to us. We get to sit on this chair with a heated back on it and heated blanket, and they'll bring us snacks or let us watch a movie," said Hull.

      Allen McDowell has been donating platelets for 30 years, and sees it as a way to help others who are struggling with their health.

      "Cancer patients need them, and there's people dying waiting for platelets...and there's just not enough of us doing it so I feel it's important that I try to do my share," said McDowell.

      The Columbia Blood Donation Center takes walk-ins for blood donations, and you can schedule an appointment to donate platelets as well as check the center's hours by going to redcross.org.