Roll up sleeves for blood donor month

Darryl Schuster, left, of the Village of Poinciana, and James McGee, of the Village of Fenney, walk to buses to donate blood during a Villages Parrot Heads Club blood drive.

A single blood donation may seem like a drop in the bucket, but every pint is critical to maintaining the supply. “It really does profoundly impact another human being within a few days,” said Pat Michaels, spokesman for OneBlood, a nonprofit that provides blood to 250 hospitals, including The Villages Regional Hospital. “In many cases, it can save somebody’s life.” January is National Blood Donor Month, and local blood centers are asking for donations.

A Constant Need

Donations don’t stay in blood centers long, heading to hospitals within three to five days, Michaels said. “The trying times for blood centers are during the holidays because a lot of people are traveling. They don’t have the time to donate,” he said. “The need for blood transfusions, that never stops.”

How to Donate

It’s never too late to start donating because there’s no upper age limit to donate blood, Michaels said. Visit oneblood.org or lifesouth.org for a list of upcoming blood drives. Donors can also schedule appointments at the OneBlood donation center in The Villages, located at 1550 Bella Cruz Drive.

A Drive to Give

His father’s need for blood led Alfred Denno to donate about three decades ago. The Village of Woodbury resident has since given 63 gallons of blood. Denno assures newcomers it’s not as painful as they may think, and he’s persuaded several to donate over the years. “That’s a good feeling,” he said.