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Program educates and inspires next generation of blood donors

Published November 02. 2009 05:00PM

Miller-Keystone Blood Center (MKBC) continues to reach out to the next generation of blood donors through the television screen and the computer monitor with their innovative science program called "My Blood, Your Blood."

Developed by scientists, physicians and educators, this multimedia program on the human circulatory system features videos for elementary, middle and high school science classes, comprehensive lesson plans, engaging classroom materials and resources for teachers, students and families.

Through sophisticated animation and microscopy, the program captures the imagination of students of all ages and helps foster an interest in science; it also emphasizes the value of community service through blood donation and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

MKBC staff present this educational program to the students at area schools, or a tour at the blood center facility can be organized and incorporated into the program.

"Thanks to generous financial support from the community, these science education program materials are available at no cost to schools in the region served by Miller-Keystone Blood Center," said Sandra D. Thomas, Director of Development at Miller-Keystone, the exclusive not-for-profit blood provider to our community's hospitals. "We are proud to offer this program at no cost to the community because it illustrates to our youth how blood helps us live, and our ultimate goal is to inspire our community youth to donate blood when they're old enough."

These blood donations will be essential in the years to come. Across the country, the number of people who donate blood has fallen steadily for the past five years; at the same time the demand for blood has grown annually. If these trends continue in the future, there will be not only spot shortages of blood but also year-round, chronic shortages.

Still, the fact remains that there is no substitute for human blood, and experts predict that demand will soon begin to outpacing supply. The World War II generation has long held the distinction of being the most dedicated and frequent blood donor group.

Meanwhile, as the huge baby-boomer generation ages and begins to experience health problems of their own, blood usage will climb.

"Here in the Lehigh Valley, Miller-Keystone Blood Center is committed to saving lives by distributing more than 150,000 blood components annually," said J. Michael Lee, DBA, President-CEO, Miller-Keystone Blood Center. "This means that our community depends on us, as the community's only blood resource, to collect and provide more than 450 units of blood each and every day."

Miller-Keystone Blood Center is in the process of developing their schedule of presentations for the current school year.

Any grade schools (grades 4-12) or youth groups interested are invited to contact Sandra D. Thomas or Kathy Meck at 800-223-6667, or

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