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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Thanksgiving week begins the “Season of Giving” and what better way to give than to donate a pint of blood?

There will be three chances to donate blood next week as the Armed Services Blood Bank Center makes stops at Torii Station, Camp Courtney and Camp Foster. The Blood Bank is the sole source of blood products for the entire U.S. Pacific Command’s 18 medical treatment facilities, according to Blood Donor Recruiter Tracy Parmer.

Blood products collected on Okinawa routinely are shipped throughout Japan, South Korea, Guam, Hawaii and numerous ships throughout the USPACOM area of responsibility.

It is the Defense Department’s largest overseas blood center and is critical in the support of more than 185,000 beneficiaries.

Here are the times and places for next week’s blood drives:

Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Building 250, Torii Station, sponsored by the 10th Army Support Group.Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Courtney Chapel, Camp Courtney.Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Globe & Anchor, Camp Foster, sponsored by the 53rd Signal Battalion.The Tori Station blood drive is in honor of Hannah Kelly, 3, the daughter of Amanda and Army Sgt. Kyler Kelly. She has been treated at the U.S. Naval Hospital on Camp Foster for an autoimmune disease that attacks the child’s blood platelets.

“She just got out of the hospital last week,” Amanda Kelly said. “At that time they were low on platelets and Hannah can get sick and need them again at any time.”

This month the Blood Bank is seeking to collect 350 units of blood. As of Nov. 15, some 173 units were donated, Parmer said.

Ineligible to donate blood are those who have donated blood within the past 56 days, anyone who has returned to Okinawa from Iraq or Afghanistan within the past year, persons who have been on assignment north of Seoul, South Korea, in the past 24 months, and anyone who has received a tattoo or body piercing in the past 12 months.

Contact Tracy Parmer at parmerct@oki10.med.navy.mil or DSN 643-7710 or visit the Armed Services Blood Bank Center’s Web site at www.militaryblood.dod.mil/okinawa for more information.


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