Life force needed: Blood donations given at McNair
Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Cunningham preps Sgt. Catherine Long for giving blood at a blood drive hosted by Armed Services Blood Program at Fort McNair Sept. 10.

Life, it's a simple word with complex meanings. What does it mean to live' Does it mean being happy and never passing up chances' Or simply breathing' Fact of the matter is, life is whatever you make it, and the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) hosted a blood drive at Fort McNair Sept. 10, ''in honor of the 9AcA "11 victims," said Pam Eller, Military District of Washington Family Readiness specialist.

According to <a href="http://www.americasblood.org">www.AmericasBlood.org</a>, more than 4.5 million patients need blood transfusions each year in the U.S. and Canada. Forty-three thousand pints of donated blood is used by the two countries daily.

That is why organizations such as the ASBP coordinate blood drives in and around military installations. ''ASBP blood gives every unit of blood, platelets and plasma to the armed services be it servicemember or Family member," said Jerrick Alexander, blood donor recruiter.

According to the ASBP organization website, 40 or more units of blood may be needed for a single trauma victim, eight units of platelets may be required daily by leukemia patients undergoing treatment, and a single pint of blood can sustain a premature infant's life for two weeks. The organization's mission is to provide quality blood products for servicemembers and their Families in both peace and war.

The reason for hosting these blood drives is, ''to provide immediate treatment for the wounded when they get injured on the battlefield. They have a ready supply of units standing by just in case an emergency does occur," Alexander said.

Others agree with Alexander's assessment of how the blood program operates.

''I know where it's going," said Spc. Edward Marshall, Headquarters and Headquarters Company 4th Battalion, 3rd U.S Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) training room and armory specialist.

''I know it's going to fellow Soldiers overseas."

The site further explains that since their formation more than 50 years ago, more than 1.5 million units of blood have been provided to treat battlefield illnesses and injuries.

By the time the blood-drive was half over, there were about 60 people signed in to donate. Some of the donors actually went online to sign-up beforehand.

''Forty-one signed up online," Eller said. ''And we've had probably 20-21 walk-ins which is great."

Donors can read all about the different blood types, detailed information about the program and specifics of how to donate on the website at <a href="http://www.militaryblood.dod.mil">www.MilitaryBlood.dod.mil</a>.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16