Across the nation there is a shortage of blood supplies. Many larger cities have labeled the need as urgent.

Donating blood is one of the greatest gifts we can give. A donation of blood can literally save a life.

One accident could quickly deplete supplies. A fire, an auto accident, an industrial mishap, a medical problem ... each could put a great demand on the blood supply.

That is why it is so critical that those who are able, donate blood. On any day, at any time, the call could go out for blood to save a life.

The irony is that any of us might be the recipient.

The process is simple and painless. Anyone in good health is usually eligible to donate.

The Red Cross supplies trained personnel to draw the blood, and the procedure is done under tightly controlled conditions.

There are several opportunities in the first and second weeks of April to give blood at American Red Cross sponsored drives in our area:

• April 4: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ivy Tech Community College

• April 4: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Meese Orbitron Dunne, 1745 Cragmont Street, Madison

• April 4: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Hanover College, 484 Ball Drive, Hanover

• April 5: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Madison Consolidated High School

• April 11: Noon to 5 p.m., Moose Lodge 765, 1340 Michigan Road.

Here's all you have to do to participate:

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information.

A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

It's that simple. Please participate if you are able.