When I hear about a blood drive, I typically think to myself, "I should go do that." If you meet all the qualifications (over 16, over 100 lbs and basically healthy) and you don't have some sort of needle phobia, there isn't a good reason to not donate.

I'm not sure why I have never made this a priority, but this time will be different. This time I will make a commitment to go donate. I will not only leave the blood drive knowing that my blood will be helping someone survive, but I will also know that I got a cheeseburger with all of the fixin's for free. Should people have to be paid with cheeseburgers for being charitable and helping their fellow human beings? Not necessarily, but Montanans do love their beef. I think it's going to bring some new faces to the blood drive.

The burgers are coming courtesy of Red Robin, so we're talking some quality food here. My only fear is that they will extract my blood and find that it is mostly gravy. I'm willing to take that risk in order to help those in need of this life saving liquid.

It’s happening Wednesday, Aug. 26th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Center located at 1444 Grand Ave. Make your  appointment to give blood at www.UnitedBloodServices.org or by calling (406) 248-9168.

With each donation, donors receive a free total cholesterol test and earn points in United Blood Services’ Hero in Me rewards program that can be used for free movie tickets, gift cards and t-shirts, according to United Blood Services.

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years of age, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height and weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian. For more information, visit www.UnitedBloodServices.org.

United Blood Services has been this area’s non-profit community blood provider since 1943, and serves patients in 47 hospitals in Montana and Wyoming. 500 Donations a week are needed to keep our community’s blood supply at a safe level.