COMMUNITY

St. Christopher’s hosts blood drive

Church of St. Christopher blood drive draws in parishioners and community

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Church of St. Christopher, along and Knights of Columbus Daniel J. Bradley Council, partners with New York Blood Center for a community blood drive. A nationwide blood shortage has agencies like the New York Blood Center asking for urgent donations in all communities.

Blood Center Supervisor Rashgene Gazi-White explains that blood has been diminishing in hospitals because there were no donations received during the pandemic. Usually, a high school blood drive or workplace drive would boost blood pints given, but the pandemic put donations on hold while patients still needed lifesaving blood.

“Burn victims and open heart surgery patients, they all need blood--we’re all here in the field trying to collect the necessary pints,” Gazi-White said, expressing the importance of donating and giving back as The New York Blood Center supplies blood to over 200 hospitals in the states of New York and New Jersey.

Some in attendance donate as often as they can within reason, and some walked downstairs at St. Christopher’s church after mass on a whim to do a good deed. Mike Brady of the Knights of Columbus Daniel J. Bradley Council is in the first school of thought.

He helps by donating blood and coordinating community blood drives and other fundraising events, such as the upcoming Christmas tree sale, he stated, “I donate on a regular basis…you can donate every 54 days--it’s a small thing to do as far as time.” Brady said the Knights of Columbus hold a blood drive somewhere in the community every six months, “This is our November drive then we’ll have another in June--we get about 55 pints each drive.”

Parishioner Maryanne Wilson was attending church when she noticed the blood drive signs and decided to help her community. She told the Herald, “I saw it and said I might as well do i--it’s a good thing to do.” Ordinarily Wilson would go through her job to donate each year, but “now I’m working from home because of Covid,” she added.

Worries over being in a medical atmosphere were calmed as nurses regularly cleaned the equipment and followed health protocols in drawing blood. Donor Kerry Williams had a positive experience saying, “They’re very good with protocol, making sure everything is clean and making sure everything is safe.”

Williams urged the community to get out and donate, exclaiming it’s “such a good thing and people need it, and everyone needs to come out and do it. He said, “I’m glad I took the time…25 minutes saves lives; I wish there were more people here.”

While donating is not a one-sided process, the donor gets in return a physical and six different tests done, including HIV, Hepatitis and other infections. Vaccination status does not matter in donating. “We do a series of questions regarding Covid, but if you had the vaccine, you can donate blood; if unvaccinated, we can still take your blood,” assures Gazi-White.

Gazi-White approximates the donations equal 25 pints. With five lives saved with each pint, about 125 lives were saved at the event. To donate you must be 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent. Seniors can donate till 76 years of age, but older donors require medical clearance from their doctor.

With Gazi-White’s 23 years at the blood center, he says the need is always there and certain events like the pandemic shorten reserves. “We need the blood, we’re always out in the community,” he added. People interested in donating can go to ww.nybc.org and register.

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