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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: December 27, 2011


NEW CASTLE (Dec. 27, 2011) - In tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of service, AmeriCorps Delaware, and the Blood Bank of Delmarva are collaborating on the first statewide hero blood drive beginning Jan. 9 and ending on the national holiday in Dr. King's name, Jan. 16.

Delaware residents are urged to make an appointment now to donate blood during that week. The blood drive's slogan, "What Type of Hero Are You?" is derived from these words from Dr. King, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' Because one pint of blood can save up to three lives, one of the answers clearly is: Donating blood.

"Inspired by Dr. King's commitment to service, Carla and I encourage eligible Delawareans to donate blood, especially the second week in January," Gov. Jack Markell said. "Giving blood is one way of giving back while paying tribute to the legacy of the great civil rights leader who dedicated his life to helping others." First lady Carla Markell, who has made volunteerism one of her cornerstone issues, works closely with

Through a grant received from Youth Service America, the 110 AmeriCorps Delaware members with the help of and the Blood Bank of Delmarva - are planning and coordinating the effort to encourage blood donors. Already, letters have gone out to every school in the state, asking older children to consider donating and asking younger children to advocate to their parents and loved ones to donate. The statewide call for donors also will go out to state agencies, nonprofits, private companies and individuals.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf praised AmeriCorps Delaware and for leading the state's efforts.

"This is a wonderful way to demonstrate the power of service to young people and their parents," Landgraf said. "As Dr. King said, 'Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.' Giving an hour out of your day to donate blood is a simple act that can save someone's life while enhancing yours."

Roy Roper, president and CEO of the Blood Bank of Delmarva, said the reach of the MLK Day Blood Drive is expected to be great.

"We are happy to be a part of this effort," Roper said. "Partnering with these agencies and organizations to help promote blood donation and raise awareness about its importance every day in our community will have a significant impact. With the large number of donors expected during the drive, the blood collected will literally help save hundreds of lives."

Every donor will receive a button and the great feeling of having helped up to three hospital patients with a portion of their blood. In addition, all donors are asked to fill out a special Hero Card, available at reception and to designate the name of their child's school (or any school they wish to designate). At the end of the drive, the top school in each county with the most hero cards will be treated to a pizza party by Grotto Pizza.

To make an appointment today to give blood during the MLK Day Blood Drive, call (888) 8-BLOOD-8 or visit Walk-ins will be taken as time allows. Donors must be 17 years of age, no tattoos or body-piercings within the last 12 months, have no cold or flu symptoms or recent major surgery. A photo ID (or two other forms of identification) is required.

For more information about the MLK Day Blood Drive, go to

For information about AmeriCorps Delaware, go to For additional volunteer opportunities in Delaware, go to For more information about Blood Bank of Delmarva or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, go to

Blood Bank of Delmarva is a non-profit, community service program that provides blood for the 16 hospitals in Delaware and on Maryland's Eastern Shore. More than 350 blood donors are needed every day to meet the needs of patients at those hospitals. For more information about the Blood Bank or to request an appointment to give blood, visit or call (888) 8-BLOOD-8.

Blood Donor Month

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.