Media Inquiries

Our Community Relations staff is available 24 hours a day to respond to media inquiries.  Contact Leslie Gamble, Community Relations Director, at 405-278-3119 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with questions or to schedule an interview.

Blood Donors Answer The Call - Blood Emergency Ends

February 11 - As of this afternoon, Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) again has an adequate supply of blood needed by patients in the 140 hospitals it serves across the state. Since Thursday, Jan. 30, OBI had faced critical lows in its supplies due to several winter storms and the resulting decline in donations.

“We have seen a strong response from kind-hearted blood donors who have come to our donor centers and blood drives the past few days,” said John Armitage, M.D., President and CEO.  “That Oklahoma standard has shown bright once again, helping us restore a sufficient supply. We thank all who have made giving a priority.

“We hope to avoid similar future scenarios as people realize how fragile the situation is.  Blood has a very limited time for its use.  About 600 new donors each day are needed to replace that which has gone on to patients in hospitals,” Armitage said. 

Armitage explained that weather is not the only factor affecting donor turnout now.
“We are also seeing the impact of the cold and flu season.  Some who usually give cannot due to illness, so we need those who are feeling well to stand in the gap for them.”

OBI urges everyone 16 years* and older who is healthy to visit its donor centers or blood drives every 56 days to give.  Appointments are not necessary but can be made by following this link.

* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.

PREDICTED WINTER STORM COULD IMPACT BLOOD SUPPLY

January 30 ─ Public Urged to Make Blood Donation Part of Storm Preparedness ─ A winter storm forecasted for next week is causing great concern for Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI).  It is urging anyone who is healthy and at least 16 years old* to make blood donation a priority before Tuesday.  Blood donors with the nonprofit provide every drop of blood needed by patients in 144 hospitals across the state.

“We believe that donating blood, especially when a storm is predicted, should go hand-in-hand with filling up the car’s gas tank, taking care of pipes that might freeze and loading up on bags of ice melt,” said John Armitage, M.D., CEO and President. 

If predicted winter storms occur, as many as 19 OBI blood drives scheduled for high schools and colleges next week may be cancelled. Some 850 blood donors are expected at these drives, so school closings alone can devastate the blood supply.

“It only takes a day or two of inclement weather for us to see significant reductions in our blood supply,” Armitage said, “but the needs of patients - young and old - continue in our hospitals.”

Oklahoma Blood Institute donor centers are located in the following cities:

Ada,1930 Stonecipher Blvd.,
Ardmore, 1420 Veterans Blvd.,
Central OKC, 901 N. Lincoln Blvd.,
Edmond, 3409 S. Broadway, Ste. 300,
Enid, 301 E. Cherokee, 
Lawton, 211 S.W. A Ave.,
Norman, 1004 24th Ave. N.W., Ste. 101, 
North OKC, 5105 N. Portland Ave.,
Tulsa, 4601 E. 81st St.

Convenient blood drives are also scheduled across Oklahoma. Schedule your life-saving donation at a donor center or mobile drive near you!

Due to limited timeframes for use of blood and the desire to be good stewards of donors’ generosity, OBI typically maintains only a three-to-five-day supply.  This is similar to that of other blood centers nationally.

* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.

Medical Breakthrough:  Public Umbilical Cord Blood Center Launched by Oklahoma Blood Institute

January 28 -  Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) officially launched the state’s public umbilical cord center today.  It is one of only 24 such centers worldwide. Until now, umbilical cord blood that can save lives has been thrown away after births across Oklahoma.  Without a local, public umbilical cord blood bank, most Oklahoma mothers had no option to donate it. Now, mothers of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, delivering at OU Medical Center can turn their joyous event into a life-saving one for those battling leukemia and other blood disorders with little hope. Other hospitals will be enlisted to partner in the future.

Thousands of people need stem cell transplants because a disease is present in their own cells (such as leukemia or a genetic disorder).  Seven out of 10 of these people do not find a matching donor in their families.  Presently, many can’t even find matches from those in the national registry.  Adding more stem cells from cord blood of those with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds increases the likelihood that more patients will find a match. As more treatment successes are found, stem cells from umbilical cord blood may even revolutionize care for life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Particularly for minority populations most prevalent in Oklahoma, hope is slim for matches of stem cells. Those of Native American heritage and other minorities are poorly represented within national registries. 

OBI clinical staff informs mothers delivering at OU Medical Center with underserved ethnic descent of the opportunity to donate.  It is free to the parents, and the donation process is simple and painless.  After delivery and separation of the cord from the baby, the mother’s physician uses a syringe to collect blood from the umbilical cord.  Donation doesn’t change the delivery process and is only performed in an uncomplicated delivery with a healthy mother and baby.

According to Oklahoma Blood Institute, after initial processes for hospital and OBI collaboration are perfected, opportunities for partnership will expand to other state hospitals that have desired patient diversity and administrators and physicians with interest. 

“As a national leader in transfusion medicine, partner with Native American tribes and other minority groups and an affiliate of the National Marrow Donor Program, Oklahoma Blood Institute is well positioned to make sure diverse needs are better met,” said John Armitage, M.D., CEO and President of OBI.  “Ours is the only organization in Oklahoma where required blood processing and testing technology and expertise exists.”

Oklahoma Blood Institute is completing the final phase of rigorous FDA licensure requirements for the cord blood facility.  A major portion of OBI’s original headquarters at 1001 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, has been renovated to accommodate offices, laboratory and cryogenic storage tanks for the cord blood program. The next closest public umbilical cord bank is in Houston, TX.

OBI’s cord blood program is being established thanks to generous contributions from several Oklahoma foundations and scores of individuals, seeking to enhance the standard of the state’s health care, but additional support from benefactors is still being sought.  Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest independent, nonprofit blood center in the United States. 

Learn more about this exciting new program.

COWBOYS SET OKLAHOMA BLOOD INSTITUTE “BEDLAM BLOOD BATTLE” - JAN. 27- 31

January 17 – The Spring Bedlam Blood Battle with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is set for Monday through Friday, Jan. 27 through 31.  OSU blood drives will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the Kerr-Drummond Mezzanine.

Sponsored by the Student Alumni Association, Oklahoma State University (OSU) will compete with the University of Oklahoma (OU) to see which can rally the most blood donors during the spring semester. The campus that can generate the largest number of blood donors will earn a trophy and bragging rights.
osu logo
Each donor will receive an OSU blood donor T-shirt and free food.  One lucky donor will win a basketball autographed by OSU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Travis Ford**!

Mike Holder, athletic director for Oklahoma State University, said, “OSU is proud to support OBI and the Bedlam Blood Drive.  Our Cowgirls and Cowboys understand the need for this effort and have always responded in great numbers.”

“The Cowboys came up winner in the fall Bedlam Blood Battle,” said OBI President and CEO John Armitage, M.D. “We fully expect this semester’s rivalry to be closer than ever. No matter which school wins, the patients in Oklahoma are truly the winners.”

Donors with OBI provide every drop of blood needed by patients in more than 140 medical facilities across Oklahoma. Typically, those who are healthy and age 16* or older are eligible to donate blood every 56 days.

* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.
**Blood donation is not necessary to enter prize drawing.

Schedule your life-saving donation, Today!

Start Off The New Year By Giving Blood

January 1 ─ Start off the new year by giving blood with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) to save lives of those in area hospitals. All healthy adults, 16 and older,* are encouraged to donate blood at blood drives throughout January.

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, nonprofit blood center in America, exclusively providing every drop of blood needed by patients in some 140 medical facilities across the state. 

“Blood donations typically decline in the winter months,” said John Armitage, Oklahoma Blood Institute president and CEO. “But the need for blood is constant, and patients in our community are counting on us to give.”

Blood donors will receive a free hot/cold gel pack, health screenings and Donor Rewards points, redeemable for merchandise in OBI’s online store. Additionally, if blood donors choose to forgo the gel pack, funds designated for this item will go to support the Global Blood Fund assisting blood centers in developing countries. 

Of those eligible to donate blood in the U.S., only about ten percent actually do, despite the quick and beneficial donation process. Giving blood only takes about an hour, and one single donation can save as many as three lives. Donations can be made every 56 days.

Appointments are not required but can be made here.

* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.

Make Blood Donation A Part Of Your Holiday Season

December 1, 2013 ─ Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) encourages area residents to get in the giving spirit this holiday season by donating blood.  Each donor can save as many as three lives. 

Donors receive hot/cold gel packs, health screenings and Donor Rewards points, redeemable for items in OBI’s online store. Any donor who wishes to support the Global Blood Fund can forgo the gel pack. In turn, Oklahoma Blood Institute will make a monetary contribution of similar value to the Global Blood Fund.  It’s a chance to give ‘again’ to support blood centers in countries lacking even the basics for a secure and safe blood supply.

“We’re blessed to be surrounded by giving people who respond when they know of a need,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute.  “The gift of blood is a priceless one.  It’s difficult to think of anything more important that we personally can do.”

Because there is no substitute for blood, the supply must constantly be renewed. Although all blood types are needed, those with O-negative type blood are especially encouraged to donate. According to the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), those with O-negative blood type make up only nine percent of the national population. However, O-negative blood can be used by in any emergency situation when a patient’s blood type has not yet been identified.

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, nonprofit blood center in America, exclusively providing every drop of blood needed by patients in local area hospitals.  Some 140 other medical facilities across the state also rely solely on OBI to provide life-saving blood for their patients. 

Anyone, 16 years or older*, can typically donate blood.  Schedule your holiday donation, Today!

*16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.

Congratulations to OSU, the 2013 Bedlam Blood Battle winners!

November 25, 2013 – Congratulations Stephen McC. from Yukon, OK. Stephen is a loyal donor who always gives at Lowe’s and this time his donation won him a pair of Bedlam tickets for Saturday!

The winning school in this season’s Bedlam Blood Battle was Oklahoma State University (OSU).  Some 1,169 Cowboys volunteered to give blood with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) in the friendly competition between the state’s two largest universities.  The University of Oklahoma rallied 1,141 on its Norman campus, wanting to give life-saving blood. With only 28 participants separating the two schools, the leader of the state’s blood center noted, everyone is a winner in this effort. 

“The Bedlam Blood Battle is a great opportunity for blood donors to show their school spirit,” said John Armitage, M.D., OBI President and CEO. “It is also a way to show the best in community spirit by saving lives. And that is the real win.”

The last two weeks, students, faculty and staff in Stillwater and Norman participated in Oklahoma Blood Institute’s Bedlam Blood Battle, competing to see which school could enlist the most life-saving blood donors.  A total of 1,932 people gave blood in the Bedlam Blood Battle.  A trophy will be presented to OSU student leaders on Dec. 7 at the Bedlam football game.

The Bedlam Blood Battle highlighted the need for blood donation heading into the holidays, when fewer people typically give. Since as many as three lives can be saved by each blood donor, the Bedlam Blood Battle will make a life-saving difference for some 5,796 people.

Blood donors with Oklahoma Blood Institute provide every drop of blood needed by patients in 144 medical facilities statewide.  This includes all metro-Oklahoma City area hospitals.  Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, non-profit blood center in America. 

Schedule your life-saving donation!

Official Bedlam Blood Battle Rules

Donors in November get choice of OSU or OU T-shirt and chance to win tickets to Bedlam game

November 15 ─ Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) invites residents to donate blood at upcoming blood drives now through November 30.and receive their choice of OSU or OU blood donor T-shirts and be entered to win a pair of tickets to the 2013 Bedlam football game in Stillwater.**  Those who aren’t fans of one of these schools can participate in a special initiative to support the Global Blood Fund (GBF).  Any donor can forgo the T-shirt and, in turn, funds so designated will be contributed to GBF.  It is a nonprofit that provides blood center technology and supplies to struggling blood centers around the world so they can meet local needs through voluntary blood donation.

Of those eligible to donate blood in the U.S., only about ten percent actually do, despite the quick and beneficial donation process. Giving blood only takes about an hour, and one single donation can save as many as three lives. All healthy adults, 16 years and older*, are encouraged to give. Donations can be made every 56 days.

“Everyone knows someone who’s needed blood. It impacts all ages of people and often arises unexpectedly as a result of accident or illness,” said John Armitage, M.D., Oklahoma Blood Institute president and CEO. “Whether we know them or not, there are people now who are counting on us to give.”

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, nonprofit blood center in America, exclusively providing every drop of blood needed by patients in local hospitals throughout the state. Some 140 other medical facilities across the state also rely solely on OBI to provide life-saving blood for their patients. 

Schedule your life-saving donation, Today!

*16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission; 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds

**Blood donation is voluntary; no donation is necessary to enter prize drawing

Moore Blood Donor Wins New Car, Courtesy of Bob Moore Auto Group

August 19, 2013─ When Wayne Covey, Moore, donated blood at Oklahoma Blood Institute’s (OBI) event with Bob Moore Auto Group, Aug. 10, he knew it felt good to help others in need.  But Covey didn’t imagine the good deed would result in winning a 2013 Dodge Dart SE. 

Saturday, five finalists randomly chosen from event participants gathered, knowing one would win the new Dodge Dart.  They represented hometowns of Sand Springs, Ada, Weatherford, Edmond and Moore where OBI provides blood to hospital patients.  Each selected a key and tried to start the Dart.

Covey was the third to try and had the lucky key.  “It’s amazing.  I can’t believe it,” he said interspersed with squeals of delight.  Covey, a Vietnam veteran known as Papaw to his five young grandchildren, has donated blood at the Bob Moore blood drive for the past four years.  The grandkids and his wife joined him for the exciting moment, with his granddaughters even coaching him on which key to select from the fish bowl.  After winning, Covey promised his grandkids he would take them for a nice, long ride in the new Dart.

Covey was one of 1,101 participants in the 10-hour blood drives held at four Bob Moore Auto Group dealerships. The event marked the ninth year for the “One Day, One Car” blood drives, supported by Bob Moore Auto Group. Of those wanting to give, 902 were eligible that day. Through this event alone, some 2,706 Oklahomans who are in critical need of blood will receive it through the remainder of the summer.

“The tremendous turnout of blood donors at Bob Moore dealerships Saturday proved that those in our communities understand that people across Oklahoma continue to need blood,” John Armitage, M.D., CEO and president of Oklahoma Blood Institute said.  “The Bob Moore team has an incredible commitment to our local blood needs.”

Healthy adults, 16 and older*, are encouraged to donate blood every 56 days.  Every drop of blood needed by patients in some 140 Oklahoma medical facilities is provided by Oklahoma Blood Institute.  Oklahoma Blood Institute is the eighth largest, non-profit blood center in America, employs nearly 700 Oklahomans and works with an estimated 1,000 volunteers and 2,600 drive coordinators. 


* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.

Schedule your life-saving blood donation.