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Red Cross seeking blood donations now

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The American Red Cross' blood service division is asking people to donate blood now so it will be available during the Olympics.

"We're pretty solid right now," spokeswoman Judy Christensen said. "But we're trying to get stocked up now because the blood donated will still be available during the Olympics and we want to supply hospitals with extra blood."

Red blood cells are good for 42 days.

The concern is not so much that something will happen during the Games, but that people won't come in to donate then. To boost donations, the American Red Cross will offer those who do donate between Feb. 8 and 22 a special commemorative pin.

All types of blood are needed, she said, but special emphasis is being put on "universal donor" O-negative blood and on O-positive blood, the two blood types used most frequently.

Besides the added pressure the Games could put on the local blood supply, this is typically a slow time of year for blood donations, said Christensen.