This article was originally published on chattanoogan.com.
Non-profit regional blood center Blood Assurance is inviting the community to donate this Memorial Day weekend in honor of the brave local veterans who gave their lives serving our country. In support of National Military Awareness Month and to honor those who answered the call to serve, Blood Assurance is supporting K9s For Warriors — an organization that provides service dogs at no cost for American heroes who are suffering from trauma as a result of military service. For every blood donation made Wednesday through Wednesday, May 31, Blood Assurance will donate one dollar to the organization. All donors will receive a complimentary “Honor. Duty. Donor.” T-shirt as a thank-you for their lifesaving donation.
“We hope the community will donate blood in honor of those who served this Memorial Day weekend and support our country’s veterans who could benefit from the treatment aid of a service dog for Post-Traumatic Stress Disability — a condition where medications often fail — through a donation from Blood Assurance to K9s For Warriors,” said Jay Baumgardner, executive director of marketing and communications at Blood Assurance. “Those who donate in honor of current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces at Blood Assurance are invited to sign their name under the military branch in which they served.”
With 16 donor centers across Tennessee and Georgia, and blood drives happening across the region, Blood Assurance hopes to raise enough funds to provide multiple veteran and service dog team kits for K9s For Warriors. The kits include special K9s attire for the veteran and accessories including a service vest and lead leash for the service dog. The organization also provides veterinary care, meals, housing and more in addition to the service dog to the veterans in need.
“The unfortunate, staggering fact is, everyday 22 veterans returning from combat take their own lives,” said Rory Diamond, executive director at K9s For Warriors. “The K9s For Warriors training program not only provides our soldiers with a livesaving gift, but it's also an opportunity for peer to peer support with other servicemen and women who suffer from similar issues.”
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (16 and 17-years-old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids – avoiding caffeine – and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating. To schedule an appointment at a donor center or blood drive near you, visit www.bloodassurance.org, call 800-962-0628 or text ‘BAGIVE ‘ to 444999.