MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The Armed Services Blood Program aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is calling all members of the community with O negative blood type to schedule an appointment to donate blood.
Starting today, the ASBP will begin to take type O negative donors in their offices aboard Camp Lejeune.
Type O negative blood can be donated to any person, and it’s the go-to choice in blood for troops.
"It can be transfused into anybody," said Wendy Binder, blood donor recruiter with ASBP. "If there is no time to check blood type, O negative can be given. It gives healthcare providers time to save lives."
While they provide blood services, the ASBP is not the same as the Red Cross. They provide blood and blood products to military forces worldwide. According to their website, any blood received by troops in a combat area is collected by the ASBP. In the last 12 years, more than 150,000 units of blood from the program were transfused on the battlefield and since the program’s inception, more than 1.5 million units of blood were transfused.
Camp Lejeune is one of two centers worldwide which can freeze blood, making collecting type O negative blood a priority for the facility. Liquid blood expires in 35 days, limiting when and where it can be used, but frozen blood lasts 10 years.
"We always have a hard time getting type O negative," said Lt. Cmdr. Corey Jenkins, the department head of Blood Services aboard Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune.
Only 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, said Binder a native of Huntington, New York, and the facility tends to fall short of its type O negative collection goals.
Type O negative blood collected aboard Camp Lejeune is sent to military facilities worldwide, including ships. It is also used for humanitarian missions, such as the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
"This blood takes care of service members," said Jenkins, a native of Freedom, Wyoming. "We have to collect for our own people."
The program can only seek donations on federal property, limiting its local donation pool to those with base access.
Typically, the program receives donations through blood drives, but the need for type O negative blood has led them to open the facility for donations. However, the facility at the hospital can only take one donor at a time and donors must set an appointment to donate.
For more information, call 910-450-3458.