O negative blood donors make up only 6.6 percent of the population, yet their blood can be received by anyone, regardless of blood type. That is why O negative blood is called the universal type of blood, and is used in emergency situations.
To help encourage more O negative blood donations, Blood Assurance began the 6% Club. O negative donors who join the 6% Club receive special incentives. This year’s club members who donate at Blood Assurance four times before December 12th will get a complimentary Blood Assurance sweatshirt at the end of the year.
To be eligible to donate, donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent) and weigh 110 pounds or more. The process usually takes about 30 minutes and includes a complimentary snack and t-shirt. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids - avoiding caffeine - and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
"Summer is an especially hard time of the year because the need for blood rises while the amount of donations decreases. All blood types are needed at this time, particularly O negative," officials said.
For more information about Blood Assurance or to see a list of blood drives and locations, please visit www.BloodAssurance.org.