FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The Armed Services Blood Program is launching its summer donation drive next week.
“Our summer campaign this year is a service-specific campaign,” said Julie Oliveri, ASBP’s communications and marketing director. “In this way, we hope to ensure our military family is ‘armed’ with the blood products needed for those who are ill or injured.”
Starting July 1 and ending Sept. 30, the campaign will be deployed at 23 donor centers on Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps installations worldwide.
“A single blood donation to the military blood program has the potential to save up to three lives,” said Air Force Col. Richard H. McBride, ASBP director. “That can make a huge difference, especially since donations tend to decrease during the summer.”
McBride noted that donations sometimes slow down this time of year because the military blood program’s eligible donors are on vacation. Although donors get their well-deserved summer time off, he added, the need for blood donations is ongoing.
“I know we are all busy preparing ourselves and our families for summer vacations, but I hope that we can all find time in our schedules to stop by and donate a few drops of lifesaving blood,” said Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jesse G. Porter, pay officer in charge of the command support branch of the Personnel Administration Center for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Rose Lori Briggs, an avid blood donor at the Robertson Blood Center at Fort Hood, Texas, said that as a girl she sometimes would go with her father when he donated blood. “I would watch as the blood filled the bag, amazed that it would go on to save a stranger’s life,” she said. “I donate to carry on my father’s dedication to the value of this selfless act.”
Briggs is a year-round donor and like her father, she said she doesn’t let summer schedules get in the way of saving lives.
“[My father] donated every eight weeks despite the busy summer season or vacations, and I try to do the same,” Briggs said. “Luckily, the ASBP makes it easy to fit donating into my schedule with walk-in appointments.”
Blood collected by the ABSP is collected by the military, for the military. This means that all blood, platelet and plasma donations collected by the military blood program directly support ill or injured service members, veterans and their families worldwide.
“While I was growing up, my father was a great example. He went out of his way to find blood donor centers and frequently donated,” Porter said. “Ultimately, whether donating blood is a civic duty — such as voting — or a nice thing to do, by simply enduring a minor needle stick, a life can potentially be saved. That fact is motivation.”