The gift that doesn’t cost a penny: Hundreds give blood at Red Cross Day of Donations Blood Drive

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GREENDALE (WITI) -- Christmas is behind us, but if you're still feeling generous this holiday season, there is a gift you can give that won't cost a thing -- and it could help save lives!

Every few minutes, Darlene Frye gives the red ball a quick squeeze.

"I was a bit nervous about it," Darlene Frye said Friday, December 26th as she donated blood for the very first time.

Something that seemed scary at first now brings a smile to her face.

"This is really easy. It's very important. It saves lives," Frye said.

Frye worked up the courage to come to the Red Cross Day of Donations Blood Drive because she sees the need first hand through her job in the operating rooms at Froedtert Hospital.

"They do all the major traumas in the area, and there are traumas every night, and their need for blood is really high," Frye said.

The blood donated at this drive will go to local hospitals first. Then it will be distributed where it`s needed,  at the 2,600 hospitals around country the Red Cross serves.

The Red Cross says one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Over the holidays, donations go down because people get busy.

"So it's really good for us have these special drives, get people donating blood," Katie Gaynor, a spokesperson for the Red Cross said.

If you're O-negative or B-negative your blood is in high demand. But whatever the type, the Red Cross says every donation counts. Supplies they already have can't last forever.

"Blood has a shelf life. It is a perishable product, so the blood we are collecting today is only on the shelf for 42 days," Gaynor said.

That's why it's important to keep donors coming back.

"Every little bit helps," Frye said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the American Red Cross, and to find a blood drive near you.