Tis the season to give gifts.The folks at the American Red Cross hope you consider giving the Gift of Life.And now they have more opportunities for you to do so.”I am very excited to cut the ribbon to officially open the Bangor apheresis donor center”It’s new technology at the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross.For years, they’ve asked people to donate whole blood which includes, red cells, platelets and plasma.The apheresis machine, can collect just one component, most of the time platelets.”The machine separates the whole blood into components and collects a measurement of the desired component. The other components of the donors blood are then returned to the donor.”That means more platelets can be collected each time, that’s helpful for patients who often will only be able accept platelets from one particular donor.Platelets are life savers to people with blood diseases, cancer and bone marrow transplants.”I started when I was 17.”Christopher D’Amico has been donating blood for 30 years, and was the first here to donate platelets.He says there’s a down side, it takes longer, up to 2 hours. On the other hand…”The up side is the needle is a lot smaller. I don’t mind that a bit.”And that sounds good to about 130 people who have already signed up for apheresis donation. The folks at the Red Cross say that speaks volumes of the generosity of the people of the region.”I’ve never been to a grand opening of a platelet pheresis center that already has that many donors lined up, ready, willing and able to give. It’s outstanding.”If you’d like to become a platelet donor, call the donor center at 941-2900 to make an appointment.