American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month

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HALES CORNERS (WITI) -- Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. The American Red Cross is spending the month of January working to educate people about the constant need for blood -- and encouraging them to donate.

Donating blood is something Tracy Anderson feels compelled to do. In 2004, she lost her identical twin boys. Luke was stillborn and Jake only lived for a matter of days.

"He needed plasma and because of that plasma we got 16 wonderful days with him until we lost him," Anderson said.

On what would've been her twin boys' ninth birthday, Anderson wanted to give back by holding a blood drive while donating blood for her first time.

"'I`m hoping that maybe I can save somebody else`s child and help somebody else who really needs it," Anderson said.

The American Red Cross is recognizing donors like Anderson this month, as January marks National Blood Donor Month.

"It`s all about educating the public on the importance of blood donations throughout the year and to thank the millions of donors that we have that are dedicated and come in throughout the year," Vickie DeJong with the American Red Cross said.

National Blood Donor Month began in January 1970 because the beginning of the New Year can be a challenging time to get donors, due to the weather and people getting sick.

"The blood types in need right now are O negative and B negative. The hospitals are going through those types faster than we`re bringing them in, partly due because of the time of year and because of the illnesses that are going on," DeJong said.

As donors rolled up their sleeves at Tuesday's blood drive, they left with a sense of pride.

"I feel good, I always feel real good. I always leave with a smile on my face," blood donor Mari Franzen said.

For more information on donating blood or hosting a blood drive call 1-800-RED-CROSS.