Dear Editor:

Miller-Keystone Blood Center (MKBC) is challenged with recruiting more than 500 donors every day in order to provide safe and continuous supply of blood products to our regional hospitals. This time of year places significant barriers to these efforts, as school breaks, family vacations and increased travel prevent many individuals from giving the gift of life.

If you know someone with a child born prematurely, someone who has been in a serious car accident, someone who has undergone cardiac surgery or hip replacement surgery, or someone who has been diagnosed with leukemia/cancer, chances are you know someone who has been personally impacted by life-saving blood transfusions.

Last week, MKBC was forced to issue a critical appeal for donors in our region. While all blood types are needed, our community blood supply is still urgently in need of donors with the O-positive and O-negative blood types. One in three individuals has the O-positive blood type, which means there is a 35 percent chance that a hospital patient will require this blood type. O-negative individuals, meanwhile, are referred to as "Universal Donors," because the red cells of an O-negative donor can be transfused to anyone, regardless of their blood type. This is especially important in trauma cases, when time may not be available to identify the specific blood type of the person in need.

If you have never donated blood, please consider giving now. And if you have given in the past, but are currently eligible, please schedule an appointment today by calling 800-223-6667.

While you may never know the recipient of your generosity, you can be assured that they and their family are extremely grateful.

J. Michael Lee

DBA, FACHE, president-CEO

Miller-Keystone Blood Center