1 out of every 10 people entering a hospital needs blood. Shortages of all types of blood often occur during the summer and winter holidays. There is no substitute for human blood. A heart surgery uses an average of six pints of red blood cells and six units of platelets. The average liver transplant patient needs 40 pints of red blood cells, 30 units of platelets, 20 bags of cryoprecipitate, and 25 units of fresh frozen plasma. 75% of the population will need blood at sometime in their lives, yet less than 5% of the eligible population donates blood. Every 17 seconds, someone in the Washington, DC area receives blood. One blood donation can save 4 lives.

These are some basic facts about donating blood. There is and will always be a need for blood donation in this country, and in the world. The 16th St. J is doing its part to help out. Four times a year we run a blood drive in the DC area by partnering with INOVA Blood Donor Services and the next chance to give is around the corner.

Inova Blood Donor Services, a not-for-profit blood collection agency, is part of Inova Health System. Their mission is to provide a safe and adequate blood supply for the communities they serve. For more than 35 years, their community-based agency, in partnership with volunteer donors, has provided life sustaining blood and blood components for patients in the communities they serve. Inova recognizes that nationally and locally the demand for blood is increasing, while blood donations are decreasing. They work with local communities to make sure that that trend is reversed and that when a person goes to the hospital they will not be denied the blood they need.

The DC area is no different than other cities in that it needs blood for its hospitals. Nearly all of its supply comes from volunteers. July and August are especially hard on hospitals because schools are out and religious services tend to be lessened. Blood types like O and B run out the most at blood centers. The most needed type of blood is always A negative, the “universal” donor. It is very important for newborn babies who need blood, because their blood type is unknown and they might need immediate emergency surgery or transfusion. Many times there is less than one day’s supply of this type of blood at different centers. Inova works to make sure that the DC area has a steady supply for its residents.

Giving blood goes beyond religious belief or culture. It is about doing something for another human being. It is very important. Robyn Kaplan, of Inova Blood Donor Services, believes that “there is a great message in the fact that, although we are a society of amazing technological advances, there is still no substitute for human blood”. This June, we are looking for many more volunteers than that. This is one of those humanitarian efforts that doesn’t actually require that much effort. The actual blood collection takes approximately 10-20 minutes. You will help a person in need and feel better about yourself at the same time.

Kaplan goes on to remark she believes "that the fact that we all must depend on each other for life-saving blood may very well be the realization that we must learn to live together in peace". For more information about other services and the process of donating, go to

Before you register, please see the donor eligibility requirements and the list of iron rich foods below:



Save a life. Safe. Simple. Rewarding.