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DEAR ABBY: Please alert your readers that blood donation is urgently needed! I am a regular blood donor, and while I personally do not mind needles, I have great admiration for those who are "needle phobic," yet continue to give regularly.

This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of our oldest son's bone marrow transplant for aplastic anemia. Andrew was only 4 years old when diagnosed. He required twice-weekly platelet transfusions, as well as regular packed cell transfusions before and after his transplant. We are thrilled to report that Andrew sailed through the transplant from his little brother's marrow. However, without blood from his countless volunteers, he would not be with us today.

To all who have never donated, please do. You will not regret it. To those of you who donate regularly, keep up the good work. You are truly God's angels on Earth. -- THANKFUL MOM IN OTTAWA

DEAR THANKFUL MOM: I am pleased to know your son came through with flying colors.

Your letter is a timely one because our nation's blood supply is alarmingly low. In fact, the blood shortage is so severe that in some of our larger cities, elective surgeries have had to be postponed.

Readers: Please give blood TODAY. Advances in medical technology have increased the number of procedures -- such as organ transplants -- that require supplemental blood. The demand has outpaced the national supply.

If every eligible donor would give blood just once a year, the blood shortage would be history. Contact your nearest Red Cross Center by looking in your telephone book or asking the information operator; or call 1-888-256-6388 for the location of your nearest community-focused blood center.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is 13 and has many friends. She's smart and beautiful. She even has her first boyfriend as of two weeks ago. My concern is, she took a razor blade and made cuts and marks in her forearm.

Because I feel this is so very serious, I have made an appointment for her to see a psychologist next week, and I want her to stay at home more until she has talked to the counselor about this. (She doesn't want to see the doctor and thinks I am being overprotective.)

I am worried sick about my daughter, but I don't want to smother her, either. What do you think about this, Abby? She reads your column and, I think, will take what you say into consideration. -- WORRIED MOTHER, CHANDLER, ARIZ.

DEAR WORRIED MOTHER: You are right to be deeply concerned about your daughter's cutting. While she may be beautiful and popular, and even have her first boyfriend, cutters usually cut themselves because the act brings them some relief from severe emotional pain. I'm pleased that your daughter will be getting professional help as quickly as possible.

As long as she is willing to cooperate with the doctor, I see no reason why your daughter should be grounded at this time. She needs emotional support from understanding friends.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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