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National Blood Donor Month Spotlights Increasing Need of Lifesaving Donations, O negative blood is especially needed

January is National Blood Donor Month, and to start the year off on the right foot, the Blood Institute is asking everyone in the community to make giving blood part of their New Year’s resolution. Donors of all blood types, especially type O negative, are asked to donate.
National Blood Donor Month has taken place each January since 1970. The campaign was created to inspire donors to continue to give during the harsh winter months and to celebrate current donors. Unfortunately, only three percent of the eligible population currently donates blood.
The month of January can be a month of critical blood shortages as people stop donating blood during the holidays, especially if they get sick in the cold and flu season. Blood drives are also often affected by winter weather, such as snow and ice storms, leading to cancellations.
Although all blood types are encouraged to give, right now OBI has a special need for O negative blood. O negative is the only universal blood type, which means it can be transfused in an emergency to any blood recipient, regardless of their blood type.
Due to its universality, O negative blood is by far the most in-demand type used by area hospitals. Premature babies, trauma victims, and sickle cell patients are most often in need of O negative blood.
These patients include preemies like identical twins Wyatt and Grady Griffin, who entered the world weighing less than three pounds each. Both babies received three units of lifesaving O negative blood at birth.
In addition to helping your community and patients like Wyatt and Grady, a blood donation offers benefits to donors as well. Each successful donor will receive a mini health screening, including checks of blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As thanks for the donation, they’ll also get a free T-shirt and snacks.
Donors can visit OBI.org or call 877-340-8777 to schedule an appointment.
OBI relies on 1,200 volunteer blood donors a day to meet the needs of local patients. The process only takes about an hour and most people over the age of 16* are eligible to donate. One donation saves up to three lives.
OBI is the sixth-largest independent blood center in the nation, with 16 donor centers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, including nine centers throughout Oklahoma. OBI provides more than 90 percent of Oklahoma’s blood supply to more than 160 hospitals and medical facilities.
*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; individuals over the age of 18 must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID required.

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