Blood plays a vital role in regulating the body’s organs including supplying oxygen and nutrients needed to survive, regulating body temperature and removing waste products.

Patients of all ages require blood for a variety of reasons, from cancer patients to those with battlefield injuries. Blood cannot be manufactured, and therefore the only way one can receive it is through donations. Whether at home or forward deployed, service members and their families depend on blood donors every day.

The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is the official provider of blood products to the U.S. military. It provides quality blood products for service members, veterans and their families in both peacetime and war.

Since the program’s inception in 1952, more than 1.5 million units of blood have been transfused for battlefield illnesses and injuries. In the last 12 years more than 150,000 units of blood were transfused on the battlefield.

“We depend very heavily on the base populations to help us with donations,” said Wendy Binder, public affairs specialist for the ASBP. “When you donate blood, you can save up to three people’s lives with your one donation.”

During the month of October, the ASBP will be hosting three to four blood drives a week on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Anyone who has base access is eligible to donate. The donation process is fairly simple and takes approximately 30 minutes. Donors are advised to be properly hydrated and to eat prior to giving blood.

“I would definitely donate again,” said Cpl. Derek Perry, a company office clerk with Bravo Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion. “Without blood donations, we wouldn’t be able to save the lives of our Marines, family members and retirees at home and abroad.”

All types of blood are accepted for donation but O negative is the most needed because it is used most often during emergencies. Those who donate blood through the ASBP directly support their friends in need at medical facilities and troops deployed worldwide.

For more information or to locate an ASBP donor center, visit the ASBP website at www.militaryblood.dod.mil or call Wendy Binder at (910) 450-3456.