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A card and box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day gifts are nice, but maybe this year, you’ll think outside the box and start a new tradition to celebrate the love in your life by giving blood together.

Think about it. You and your significant other will have an opportunity to spend an hour together in a relaxed environment feeling great about yourselves because you’re doing something selfless. No romantic partner at the moment? Celebrate someone important to you like a BFF or family member. There’s more than one kind of love.

You could take this opportunity to exchange your Valentine’s Day cards with each other. Or simply look into each other’s eyes lovingly because you’re doing something so special together. And isn’t that how memories are made, sharing a special moment?

This might be the perfect time to consider making a platelet or plasma donation. These automated donations isolate just one blood component and return the rest to the donor, which is a benefit to patients. They do take 30 to 60 minutes longer than a regular donation. That’s more time together and enough time to watch a romantic movie on your mobile device or tablet. It’s a win-win!

Bring something yummy to share for after the donation. Of course, our usual snacks will be on hand, but chocolate-covered nuts or strawberries dipped in chocolate might be just the thing to complete the experience. You might even find that some of our donation centers are close to good restaurants near by.

Where to donate blood, you ask? You can easily schedule an appointment online at a donation center close to home. Since you’ll be donating together, you’ll want to be sure to make your appointments for the same time. Simply go click on the "donate now" button at the top of this page. Then it’s an easy ZIP code search to find the most convenient donation location to you.

Another great thing about giving blood to celebrate love is that there’s no obligation to do it precisely on Valentine’s Day. Donate a day or two before, or after, if that’s easier for you. You’ll still be saving the lives of hospital patients. Heck, you can give blood any month of the year together and make it your own special celebration. Give more than once, and the love multiplies exponentially.  

And since this is a celebration of love, think about those hospital patients who will love you for your selfless act. With all due respect to Whitney Houston, that may actually be the greatest love of all.