January is recognized as Blood Donor Month – a time to celebrate generous volunteer donors and raise awareness for the need for blood donations. In January there is usually a shortage of blood donations due to the bad weather, flu season, and holidays. That is why Blood Donor Month is such an important observance.

Donating blood saves many lives and improves health for many people. A single donation from a single person can help more than one patient. Some surgeries and diseases that rely heavily on blood donors are cancer treatments, transplants, open heart surgery, anemia, and sickle cell disease. Every year around 4.5 million Americans need blood transfusions. Some people with sickle cell disease receive up to four pints of blood every month in order to stay alive.

The donated blood is also used to research bloodborne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and West Nile virus.

Make a difference by finding your local blood center and scheduling an appointment to donate during National Blood Donor Month.