Since 1970, January has been celebrated as National Blood Donor Awareness Month, and this year, Bastrop has several opportunities to give.

According to the Red Cross, National Blood Donor Awareness Month is a time that recognizes the many donations of blood and platelet donors. It is a chance to bring awareness to the great need for blood donations across the U.S.

The Red Cross notes that 36,000 units of red blood cells, almost 7,000 units of platelets, and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S. Every two seconds someone needs blood, and one donation can save multiple. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days and platelets within five.

“Any blood donation can save up to three lives or help to strengthen a life,” said LifeShare Regional Director Hollie Boudreaux.

The LifeShare Blood Center in Monroe is one local place to give donations. Located on 2909 Kilpatrick, it is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments can be made online, and there are often mobile drives as well.

Their donation goal for January is 1500 plus units of red blood cells. The blood is put to various uses almost immediately.

“Generally it's transfused as fast as we can get it on the shelf,” Boudreaux explained. “Much of it goes to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia, but it also goes to other types of patients such as burn victims and premature babies.”

LifeShare is always looking for donations and is grateful for anyone who wants to give.

“There's never been a time when we would turn anyone away,” said Boudreaux.

Locals will have ample opportunity to donate this month and not just at LifeShare in Monroe. There are two upcoming events in Bastrop at which locals can give.

Saturday, January 12, a Blood Replenishment Drive will be held for local Matt Branch at Simmons Sporting Goods from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Branch had a hunting accident recently where a shotgun misfired, causing a near-fatal injury. Many gave blood to save his life. Now the family wishes to help replenish the 190 blood products needed to stabilize him.

“We're so thankful to all the donors who made it possible for him to get what he needed to live,” his mother Brenda Tarver commented on Facebook. “Now we want to do our part to help replenish it so others in need of precious blood will have it available to them.”

Locals will have a second opportunity to donate at the GiveHope Blood Drive being held at Morehouse General Hospital Monday, January 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Participants must have their ID to donate.

Bastrop and its Locals support the efforts of blood donors and encourage those interested to go to LifeShare or an upcoming event and donate to save a life.