[caption id="attachment_2902" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Marines from 1st Radio Battalion proudly wear their colorful blood donation badge after donating blood to the Armed Services Blood Program (Armed Service Blood Program photo)."]
During January, National Blood Donor Month, we are reminded of the gift of life—blood. Just one blood donation to organizations such as the Armed Services Blood Program and the American Red Cross can save up to three lives. Some of those lives have been those of wounded, ill and injured Service members who required large amounts of blood to survive and recover from their wounds.
The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) plays a key role in providing quality blood products for Service members and their families in both peace and war. As a joint operation among the military services, ASBP has many components working together to collect, process, store, distribute and transfuse blood worldwide. ASBP operates more than 20 donor centers and works with thousands of dedicated donors who give blood so that Service members, retirees and their families have a fighting chance when they are wounded or ill. Many centers also conduct mobile blood drives at military installations. Blood donors come through day-after-day, and their selfless gifts allow ASBP to help the military community.
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. The Red Cross collects 6.5 million units of blood from approximately 4 million donors nationwide, and distributes over 9 million blood products for transfusion.
January is a difficult month for blood donations because inclement weather, seasonal colds and flu, and busy schedules may prevent blood donations. As part of bringing in the New Year, you may wish to consider donating blood to the ASBP or the American Red Cross this month—and anytime you are able—to ensure a stable supply. Blood must be collected continuously because it has a short shelf-life, and regular donors are key to ensuring that blood is available year-round for wounded Service members and those in need. By donating blood regularly, you make vital contributions to healthcare and help save lives.
To learn more about the Armed Services Blood Program, find a blood donor center near you, or to find out more about blood donor centers, please visit the Armed Services Blood Program website or the Armed Services Blood Program Facebook page. To donate blood to the American Red Cross call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit the American Red Cross website to make an appointment or for more information.
Thank you, blood donors, for the gift of life.