INDIANAPOLIS – Summertime typically sees a decline in life-saving blood donations. To ensure a healthy blood supply, Indiana Blood Center, part of Versiti, asks donors to mark World Blood Donor Day Friday by scheduling two blood donations over the next few months.

Versiti joins the World Health Organization’s international movement this day to honor beacons of hope who save lives through their generous blood donations.

In a show of gratitude, donors will receive a special car windshield sunshade through the month of June and other thank-yous.

“Regular blood donations are needed throughout our state every day, particularly in the summer months when we experience nearly a 20 percent drop in donations,” said Dr. Charles Miraglia, president of Indiana Blood Center. “By scheduling two blood donation appointments over the next few months and pledging to keep them, you’ll help to ensure that your precious gift will be there when patients are in need over the summer.”

The summer season is also especially challenging because Indiana Blood Center is without the generous donations it typically receives from high school and college blood drives and because families are occupied with summer activities. Summer also sparks a higher incidence of trauma and other emergency situations, requiring the center’s nearly 80 partner hospitals throughout Indiana to be prepared with enough O-negative blood, the universal blood type everyone can receive in an emergency.

“We encourage those who can donate to please give and help our hospitals and their patients this summer,” Dr. Miraglia said.

Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date. If those interested in donating blood are wondering if they can, donation eligibility requirements are available online.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 317-916-5150 or visit Indiana Blood Center online.

More than 90,000 Indiana residents each year give blood through the Indiana Blood Center, a non-profit organization founded in 1952 that operates blood centers in Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Greenwood, Lafayette and Terre Haute. The center also operates many mobile and community blood drives throughout the state. Indiana Blood Center provides a continuous and safe supply of blood and biological services to Hoosiers at nearly 80 Indiana hospitals and beyond.