MARQUETTE — A nationwide blood shortage is hitting the Upper Peninsula especially hard.

The UPHS Regional Blood Center is the primary provider of blood to 13 hospitals across the Upper Peninsula. The Blood Center is experiencing a critical shortage of the following four blood types: A negative, A positive, B positive, and O negative.

Blood Collection Coordinator Rachel Heath is encouraging everyone to visit their local donation center and give blood.

“Overall the nation in low on blood donors and low on blood,” said Heath. “So it’s kind of hard to get blood in our U.P. because it is such a small region and we are so spread out. Donating is really important because we supply all the blood in the U.P. We definitely need to get out and donate and bring our blood supply back up.”

With accident and injury rates increasing during the winter months, the need for blood is even greater now than it usually is.

Almost anyone can give blood, and the donation process is quick and easy. It’s a simple act of kindness that could save the life of someone in need.

“It takes about half an hour out of your day from start to finish, filling out the paper work, doing your health screening,” said Heath. “And you get a sense of fulfillment by being able to help someone and to give back and save a life.”

If you would like to give blood at a donation center near you, you can find a list of UPHS donation centers and hours here.