Start the year by saving lives! January is National Blood Donor Month, and Arkansas Blood Institute is urging all healthy Arkansans, ages 16 and up, to take only about an hour of their time to give blood. Each blood donation can save the lives of up to three patients.

Arkansas Blood Institute will hold a blood drive with Wal-Mart Alma on Friday, Jan. 18, from 1:30 -6 p.m. Each blood donor will receive a free, limited edition, long-sleeved t-shirt.

“Some of our friends and neighbors are facing another year of difficult and life-threatening health challenges,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “Someone needs blood every two seconds, and the supply must be constantly renewed. We are inviting all Arkansans to make a resolution to give blood in the new year.”

Whole blood donations can be made every 56 days. Platelets can be donated up to 24 times a year. If donors opt not to take the t-shirt, Arkansas Blood Institute will make a monetary donation to Global Blood Fund for blood center assistance in developing countries.

As a non-profit blood center, Arkansas Blood Institute’s volunteer donors provide every drop of blood needed for patients in more than 40 hospitals statewide.

Appointments to give blood are not required but can be made by calling Arkansas Blood Institute at 877-340-8777 or visiting arkbi.org.

Note: 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.