January is National Blood Donor Month, time to recognize the lifesaving contribution of blood and platelet donors. As we begin the New Year, VA encourages all of us to resolve to roll up a sleeve to give this month and throughout 2020.

Above, VA Maine Healthcare System employee Marsha Lamontang donates during a 2019 blood drive.

Many VA medical centers will be holding blood drives throughout the year. Contact your local VA facility for information on its event.

Where you can donate

Here are just a few of the many VAMCs sponsoring blood drives, and when:

Jan. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Northern Arizona VA Health Care Systems

Jan. 9, 12 to 5 p.m. – G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Jackson, MS

Jan. 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Chillicothe VA, Ohio

Jan. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – University Drive campus, VA Pittsburgh

Jan. 13, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – H.J. Heinz III campus, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Jan. 16, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Oklahoma City VA

Jan. 17, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – North Las Vegas VA Medical Center

Jan. 23, 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, Saginaw, MI

Jan. 23, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Buffalo VA

Jan. 29, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Sheridan VA Health Care System, Sheridan, WY

Feb. 21, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA, Philadelphia

Veteran Neil Caron donates blood at the VA Maine Healthcare System drive in 2019.

Every day, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

Winter is the toughest blood collection season

National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs.

During the winter months, inclement weather often results in cancelled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses like the flu may cause some donors to become temporarily unable to donate.

Stephen Sears, Togus VA chief of staff, said: “A blood donation truly is a ‘gift of life’ that a healthy individual can give to others in their community who are sick or injured. In one hour’s time, a person can donate one unit of blood that can be separated into four individual components that could help save multiple lives. During this holiday season give the gift of blood – it can be truly life saving for those in need.”

Special thanks to the public affairs officers who provided information.

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