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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, 2012


NEW CASTLE (Dec. 27, 2012) - In tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of service and as part of the Governor's Week of Service, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and the Blood Bank of Delmarva are collaborating on a statewide hero blood drive beginning Jan. 11 and ending on the national holiday in Dr. King's name, Jan. 21.

Delaware residents are urged to make an appointment now to donate blood as a way to honor Dr. King and to lend a hand during the Governor's Week of Service. The blood drive is a call to action based on 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 make an appointment to donate blood to honor his legacy," Gov. Jack Markell said. "Taking an hour out of your day to give blood is a simple act that can save someone's life. For Delawareans committed to serving others, donating blood is one of the most profound ways to demonstrate the power of service."

First lady Carla Markell, who has made volunteerism one of her cornerstone issues, works closely with

"As part of the Governor's Week of Service, we look forward to working with the Blood Bank to encourage more donors to come forward," Carla Markell said. "As Dr. King said, 'Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.' Donating blood is a wonderful way to serve others in need."

The statewide call for donors is going out to private companies, nonprofits, state agencies and individuals.

DHSS will host a community mobile blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Springer Building on the Herman Holloway Campus on U.S. 13 near New Castle. On that day, Gov. Markell and first lady Carla Markell will stop by the blood drive to thank donors. DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf looks forward to welcoming the community to the DHSS campus.

"We are happy to serve the community in a new way by hosting a mobile blood drive." Landgraf said. "We encourage DHSS employees, along with people who live or work near our Holloway Campus, to make an online appointment to donate on Jan. 18. With someone in our country needing blood every two seconds, the MLK Day Blood Drive speaks to our agency's mission to improve the quality of life for Delaware's citizens and to protect vulnerable populations."

To make an appointment today during the MLK Day Hero Blood Drive, including the Jan. 18 mobile blood drive at DHSS' Holloway Campus, call (888) 8-BLOOD-8 or visit

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.

"Blood Bank of Delmarva is happy to once again participate in this service opportunity for the citizens of Delaware," Roper said. "We can all learn from the inspiring words and acts of Dr. King. Service to our community, whether it is providing food for those who need it or donating blood, is something that is the right thing to do. Our organization sees this every day. Giving blood is a simple act, yet it has far-reaching implications. It provides peace of mind for the hospitals in our community who are charged with ensuring that their patients have what they need to recover from debilitating illnesses and/or severe trauma. We hope that the lessons learned from Dr. King will inspire those who are able, to give blood, the gift of life."

Donors who complete a Hero Card will receive a free MLK Day Hero Blood Drive T-shirt. Donors must be between the ages of 17 and 79, with no tattoos or body-piercings within the last 12 months, and have no cold or flu symptoms or recent major surgery. A photo ID (or two other forms of identification) is required. Walk-in donors will be taken as time allows.

For more information about the MLK Day Blood Drive or about 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 or call (888) 8-BLOOD-8.

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.