Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.
Locally, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers — the sole blood provider for many area hospitals, including Wolfson Children's Hospital, Baptist Health hospitals, Memorial Hospital and Orange Park Medical Center — will participate in National Blood Donor Month to celebrate the selfless blood donors of Northeast Florida and encourage first-time donors to give the gift of life.
National Blood Donor Month was first celebrated in January 1970, after President Richard Nixon issued a proclamation establishing the observance. Now in its 50th year, the observance brings attention to the impact of blood donors at a time when many blood centers around the nation experience a supply shortage.
“Blood donors are truly the unsung heroes of the communities we serve,” said Nancy Eckert, CEO of LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. “As the presidential proclamation states, ‘the voluntary blood donor truly gives life itself.’ Just one donation to LifeSouth can help save three lives in the community. We extend our deepest gratitude to the donors who make our work possible.”
LifeSouth encourages Northeast Florida residents to participate in National Blood Donor Month in one of the following ways:
■ Make a donation. Approximately 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, yet only 5 percent are active donors. LifeSouth welcomes regular and first-time donors to visit one of its two donor centers in Northeast Florida, or find one of the signature red, white and blue buses. All month long, donors will receive a special long-sleeve T-shirt (while supplies last). Donors will also receive a movie ticket when they donate with LifeSouth between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.
■ Host a blood drive. LifeSouth welcomes the support of businesses, organizations, churches and professional groups looking for a meaningful way to give back in the new year.
■ Share your story. “No one ever asked me to donate” is one of the most common reasons why people don’t give blood, according to LifeSouth. Your personal story about why you donate can help save lives. Tag @LifeSouth in your story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and use the hashtag #NationalBloodDonorMonth.
To find a donor center or blood drive, or to learn more about hosting a blood drive, visit LifeSouth.org.