Observed in January since 1970, National Blood Donor Month is an important time to spread awareness about the need for donated blood and platelets. During the winter, organizations like the Red Cross may have to cancel blood drives because of bad weather. Bad weather can also cause people to stay home instead of donating, and cold temperatures can lead to illnesses that also cause donors to cancel, so January is an important time to ramp up awareness.

Medical patients, victims of auto accidents and other types of accidents, and many other people are in need of blood donations every day. If you want to donate blood, you must meet the following requirements:

  • At least 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent in most states
  • At least 110 pounds
  • Generally good overall health
  • High schoolers age 18 and younger must meet certain height and weight requirements

A steady supply of donated blood and platelets is essential to medical patients across the country who are in need of these donations. You can donate blood every 56 days and platelets can be donated every 17 days, up to 24 times per year.

There are many reasons people donate. Perhaps you want to donate blood because you are thinking of what it would be like if a friend or family member was in need. Or maybe you simply care about giving and being generous. Whatever your motivation, the winter is an especially important time for donations. Find a donation location by visiting redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-red-cross.