O negative blood donors are seriously needed by Blood Assurance, the regional non-profit blood center. This week the demand for O negative blood has increased by 27 percent at area hospitals. For today and tomorrow, only thirty O negative donors have made appointments, but sixty donors are needed in order to have an adequate supply of blood and blood components for patients at our local hospitals. Blood Assurance volunteer donors help patients in over seventy healthcare facilities.

O negative blood is known as the universal blood type because it can be given to patients in an emergency situation when their own blood type is unknown. Only 6.6% of the donor population has this blood type.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. The process usually takes about 30 minutes and includes a complimentary snack and t-shirt. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids – avoiding caffeine – and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating. Your one donation can save three lives.

For more information about donating blood, blood center locations or blood drives, please call Blood Assurance at 1-800-962-0628 or go to www.BloodAssurance.org.