In response to what it is describing as a local “blood emergency,” the New York Blood Center held a donation drive at the Gold Coast Public Library on Monday. According to the NYBC, its supply is reaching a critically low level due to a lack of donations over the summer.
“We’ll probably be in it until the end of August,” said Sharon Sliva, a NYBC donor recruiter. “More people are vacationing, more people are on the road, and there are more car accidents as a result.”
Sliva said the blood center is seeking O negative blood, which is considered a universal blood type because anyone can use it. NYBC is, however, also collecting blood from all types of donors.
“There are different proteins and RH factors, so we need a diverse group of people to donate,” Sliva said. “We want to help everybody, because it really is the gift of life.”
According to Sliva, only 2 percent of the 2 million people in the tristate area who are registered as eligible donors contribute. “One donation saves three lives, so it’s very important that eligible donors come out to make a difference,” she said.
Sliva added that, based on the turnout on Monday, the community is “stepping up when it matters the most.”
Julie Rooney, of Glen Head, said she donates as often as she can to help people like her father. “My dad, Santo Endrizzi, is a World War II veteran, and he’s currently a recipient of a platelet,” Rooney said. “I’m really happy to see the bustle today and to see so many people who care for others.”
State Assemblymen Michael Montesano and Ed Ra hosted the blood drive. Montesano said it has long been one of the most significant events on their agendas. “Blood supply is something that’s needed all year round,” he explained. “We picked this time of the year to do it because there’s more availability for the public. Every donation goes a long way.”
Montesano said that residents have responded well to the blood emergency and that it was great to see donors of all ages. “It’s important for people to realize the significance of blood donations,” he said. “You’d be amazed by how far a person’s pint of blood goes to helping people in need.”
For people who might be afraid to give blood, Sliva explained that the process is quite simple. “It’s very easy, it’s very safe, and it doesn’t take much to contribute,” she said. “It doesn’t cost anything but your time.”
Visit www.nybc.org or call (800) 933-2566 for more information about the NYBC and donating blood.