Be a local hero: Donate blood

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By The Staff

One observance that took place last Sunday passed with very little fanfare. Of course it was Flag Day and the merciful end to the marathon NBA season, but it was also a day for some very local heroes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009 was the celebration of World Blood Donor Day and the heroes who save lives every day. Millions of people owe their lives to people they will never meet — people who donate their blood freely and without any reward.

Voluntary blood donors are the foundation of a safe blood supply and World Blood Donor Day called attention to the fact that only 6 percent of the population donates in order to save millions of lives each year. Though World Day has passed, it is not too late to recognize those donors and more importantly, it is not too late to become a blood donor hero yourself.

Summer is here and now more than ever blood centers need our help. While families go on vacation, snowbirds head up north and high school, college and university students take the summer off, our donations drop significantly. That’s why local blood banks are appealing to the public for donors as soon as possible.

Blood donations help save the lives of trauma patients, premature babies, cancer patients and people needing surgery. The patient in need of a life-saving blood transfusion could be your neighbor, a family member or even yourself. Most donations will impact those patients within a few days. If you have ever donated blood or thought about it, now is the time to be a local hero and save lives in your community.

Marion County is served by Florida’s Blood Centers and Life-South Community Blood Center. Both use mobile blood collection buses and work with various civic organizations on blood drives. Blood donor heroes can be as young as 16 and there is no upper age limit.

Right now, Life-South Blood Centers are reporting a critical need of B+ and all negative blood types including O-, A-. B- and AB-.