ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s time to roll up your sleeves because January is National Blood Donor Month.

It’s an effort to boost blood donations coming out of the holiday season, where kids are out of school and people are on vacation, so donations drop off and impact the national blood supply.

OneBlood is putting out the all call for donors of all blood types to fill a critical need in our area. 

What You Need To Know

“Blood saves people's lives on a daily basis. Right now, there are people in our hospitals in Central Florida who are receiving blood transfusions cancer patients, premature babies sickle cell patients, trauma patients, the list goes on and on of the amount of people who need blood on a daily basis to save their lives so they really are these unsung heroes in our community who step forward to donate and they are helping save peoples lives,” explained Susan Forbes, senior vice president of Communications at OneBlood.

One person in the area knows firsthand what it feels like to not only be a donor, but receive a life saving donation. 

Gloria Boisvert is always focused on what’s ahead of her. As coach of Lake Highland Preparatory School’s archery team, she teachers her students to do the same. 

“The kids teach me something new every day,” said Boisvert. 

Archery is still a relatively new passion for Boisvert, a physical activity she wasn’t sure she’d ever have the strength to do.

“I am so lucky. If you had asked me 10, 15 years ago where I would be, this is probably not what I would say,” said Boisvert. “The journey has been amazing.”

Early on in Boisvert’s career as a science teacher, during which she’s taught hundreds of students about how the human body works, she realized she was having a problem with her own.

“In 2008, I required an emergency surgery in order to repair arteries in my heart,” said Boisvert. “It was determined that if I did not have this operation that I would not live for very long. I was at risk of a massive cardiovascular event and having a massive heart attack or stroke, so the physicians decided that I required surgery and it was a pretty quick process. It was decided probably within a 72 hours.”

Within days, she went from being the lifeblood of her classroom to needing blood herself.

“As the physician was operating me, somehow there was an issue where there was severe bleeding and it required an emergency series of blood transfusions and those really saved my life,” said Boisvert. “When you are having open heart surgery and you require that, it is very much a life or death situation, so I was very blessed that I was able to receive three blood transfusions.”

Since she’s recovered, she’s become an avid blood donor, hoping to save lives in the same way her own was saved. 

“I was in critical care and when I looked up, the first thing that I saw was that bag of blood,” said Boisvert. “I didn’t even begin to understand what it was or what it meant, but I was so grateful. My husband has been a blood donor for over 30 years and it really brings it home that he has been giving the gift of life for somebody for many years”

Besides her time teaching inside her classroom, she now tries to do so in the community as well, calling on others to take time to donate. 

“And there is a really big need for O positive (O+) and negative blood types, so we are calling out to the community. I ask all those that I know to consider donating,” said Boisvert. “Only 5% of us donate blood where there is 60% of the population out there that are actually capable of donating blood and don’t, so it’s an urgent call”

While she shoots at the target of increasing the national blood supply, she can’t help but feel grateful for the life she now lives. 

“To being here today feeling health and feeling comfortable and taking on new adventures and having my students and my family, what a blessing,” said Boisvert. 

A gift she repays one donation at a time. 

According to OneBlood, there is an urgent need for donations of all blood types, but especially O positive (O+) and negative as well as platelet donations. Each donation can help save up to three lives in 250 hospitals across the southeast. 

To sign up to donate, click here