The First Christian Church of Miami, and supporting sponsor, the Miami Rotary Club, will host a blood drive August 27 at the church facility on North Main Street.

The event, to be held from 2:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., for the purpose of maintianing community blood supplies for patients who will need blood this summer.

Healthy Oklahomans in the Miami area are asked to donate the blood that will help the Oklahoma Blood Institute maintain blood reserves.

All donors can enter to win one-of-two $100 gift cards courtesy of Walmart and First National Bank of Miami.

Every donor will receive a free, limited edition, lightweight backpack and free health check readings on body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and cholesterol and iron levels.

Summer vacations from work and school often lead to a slump in blood donations during a time when the the need for blood traditionally rises, according to institute officials.

In addition to regularly scheduled surgeries and treatments that require blood, the institute often sees an increase in blood usage due to traumas - like motorcycle, boating and car accidents.

“Blood donors save lives, that's the bottom line,” said John Armitage, M.D., President and chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Blood Institute. “As a community, we need to come together to be prepared not only for the surgeries that are scheduled at area hospitals, but also for emergencies that can happen during the summer.”

Those who are unable to attend the Miami blood drive on Aug. 27, may donate at institute's Tulsa Center located at 4601 E. 81st Street. To schedule an appointment, call 918-477-0400 or 888-584-7557.

Blood donation generally takes only about one hour and can be done as often as every 56 days. Each unit of blood donated can be used by up to three Oklahomans in need of its life-saving benefits.