The BloodCenter of Wisconsin is collecting donations all day at Wisconsin State Fair Park.
The Declaration for Donations Blood Drive began at 7 a.m. Tuesday and runs all the way until 7 p.m.
According to the BloodCenter, anyone 17 or older who’s in good health and meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to donate. Requirements include weighing at least 110 pounds, not having major cold or flu symptoms, and the ability to present a valid photo ID.
“It’s very important for our community,” said Mario Higgins. The 47-year old has been regularly donating blood every two to three months since he was 18.
Mario and his wife Rita said they’re passionate about blood donation because their daughter, Trinity, underwent several major heart surgeries as a child and relied on blood donations to recover.
“It’s the one thing we can all give, regardless of social status or economic status,” Rita Higgins said. “We can have the best doctors, the best medicines, and the best medical machines, but without those blood donations we can’t save some of those lives in need."
Matt Queen, a spokesperson for the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, said each donation accounts for one pint, or unit, of blood.
He said trauma resulting from crimes like shootings, or vehicle accidents, can require victims receive roughly 30 units of blood to survive.
“We’ve seen farm accidents, or car accidents, where victims needed around 200 units of blood,” Queen said. “So that’s 200 people helping one person.”
Queen said this month’s deadly, large-scale shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was a sobering reminder about how important blood donations can be.
“If there’s a mass catastrophe in this city or elsewhere, you can deplete your blood resources very quickly,” Queen said.
But Queen said blood donations are typically short during the summer months, with people spending increased time traveling or with family. He said such activities also tend to mean more accidents, and more people requiring blood donations.
"You're out camping, you're traveling, there's a lot of increased car traffic. So there's a lot more scenarios for serious injuries to happen," Queen said.
Queen said the most needed blood donation is type O Negative. He said O Negative is a universal blood type and thus can be the most useful in trauma situations.
“Anybody in any situation can receive O Negative, and their body will accept it,” Queen said. “A lot of it, I’m sure, was used in Orlando.”
Those wishing to donate blood at State Fair Park can call ahead to make an appointment at 877-BE-A-HERO. Walk-in’s are also welcome.
All attempting donors will receive a free ticket to the Wisconsin State Fair.