Every two seconds, someone needs blood to live. Some are fighting cancer while others are undergoing surgery. Still others are unexpected trauma victims.

January is National Blood Donor Month, as designated in 1970 to honor volunteers who give blood and encourage others to do the same. It’s is a critical way for Hoosiers across the state to help others by donating life-saving blood to the Indiana Blood Center, part of Versiti.

Each year, more than 90,000 Indiana residents give blood. Each pint can help save up to three lives. Yet nationwide, of all eligible people who can donate blood, only 3 percent do.

Now is an important time to give blood, said Dr. Charlie Miraglia, president of Indiana Blood Center. “During the winter months, we often see a decline in donations, mainly due to bad weather, seasonal illnesses and even holiday travel, which all keep even our most loyal donors from giving,” he said. “But the need for life-saving blood doesn’t decline. In fact, the need often rises.”

O-negative blood is especially needed now. O-negative donors are universal blood donors, meaning their red blood cells can be transfused to patients with any blood type. The blood type is found in hospital emergency rooms for situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type.

Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 317-916-5150 or visit Versiti.org/Indiana.

More than 90,000 Indiana residents each year give blood through the Indiana Blood Center, a non-profit organization founded in 1952 that operates blood centers in Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Greenwood, Lafayette and Terre Haute. The center also operates many community blood drives throughout the state. Part of Versiti, Indiana Blood Center provides a continuous and safe supply of blood and biological services to Hoosiers, Indiana hospitals and beyond.

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Founded in 1952, Indiana Blood Center, part of Versiti, is a non-profit organization and vital community resource dedicated to providing a continuous, safe and adequate supply of blood components and biological services first to people of our own communities, then wherever needed. The center has 350 associates and more than 90,000 Hoosier blood donors. For more, visit Versiti.org/Indiana.