Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) encourages all healthy Charleston-area residents who are at least 16 years old* to donate blood. A single donation can save as many as three lives. A blood drive, sponsored by Sacred Heart Catholic Church, will occur at 12:45 to 6:15 p.m., on Monday, Oct. 21.

Thanks to its volunteer donors, Arkansas Blood Institute exclusively provides every drop of blood needed by patients to 20 local hospitals in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Each donor will receive a blood donor T-shirt, health screenings and Donor Rewards points, redeemable for items in ABI’s online store.

"Someone needs blood every two seconds, and since blood can only be used for 42 days, we constantly need people to donate," said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. "This ongoing need is why we are asking Charleston-area residents to come to this blood drive and give."

Although all blood types are needed, those with O-negative type blood are especially encouraged to donate. According to AABB, those with O-negative blood type make up only nine percent of the national population. However, O-negative blood can be used in any emergency situation when a patient’s blood type has not yet been identified.

Through a special initiative to support the Global Blood Fund (GBF), any donor can forgo the T-shirt. In turn, funds so designated will be contributed to GBF, a nonprofit that provides blood center technology and supplies to struggling blood centers around the world so they can meet local needs through voluntary blood donation.

Donations can be made every 56 days and usually take about an hour. Appointments are not required but can be made at or by calling 877-340-8777.

*16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission; 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds