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A Call For Arms

January is Blood Donor Month, so get ready to pump some iron on Saturday and not the barbell variety - just iron rich plasma.

Hey, can you spare a pint?

Calling all residents, friends, family, or anyone who is passing through the neighborhood to stop by on Saturday, Jan. 29 anytime from 7:15am until 2:45pm to roll up your sleeve and donate some blood at in the cafeteria. 

Due to all the snow storms several blood drives had to be cancelled and from the ones that did go forward there was a small turnout. So, the New York Blood Center is counting on us. 

“Inventory levels have been low especially our supply of O-negative blood, the universal donor type," said Donna Penczak, Account Manager at NYBC. "As of Friday, January 21 our supply of this vital blood type was down to 1.4 days.  Keep in mind anything less than three days supply is considered quite low." 

Although it would appear that the NYBC services only our area, turns out that it goes beyond state lines into New Jersey and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania to reach a total of 20 million people who are in dire need of blood.

“Only 2% of eligible New Yorkers actually donate blood," Penczak said. "That means that out of 100 people that can donate blood only two will actually donate.  Yet it takes 800 pints of blood per day to satisfy the needs of Long Island hospitals alone."

Did you know that approximately 5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion this year? And that someone will need blood in the USA every two seconds? And that more than 40,000 units of blood are transfused each day?  Whew…those are some serious statistics! Are you seeing red yet on how important this is?

To be eligible to give blood you must meet the following criteria:

1. Folks between the ages of 16 through 75 can donate but if you are 16 years old, you will need parental consent.

2. Your weight should be at least 110 pounds.

3. You should be in good health, it is important NOT to come in with a cold, flu, sore throat or other illness.

4. You can be taking certain medications and still donate blood (Note: if you are on antibiotics you can donate after taking your last dose) make sure to fully disclose all information to the nurse but you CAN’T be taking blood thinners such a Coumadin.

Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. 

“If you feel uneasy or nervous about giving blood or you feel your veins are not good let the nurses know, they are very experienced and will help with whatever the issue is at hand,” Penczak said.

Reminders for when you come by on Saturday:

-Bring valid ID and donor card if you have one.
-Eat a good meal before you come, avoid fatty or heavy foods.
-Drink PLENTY of fluids right before your appointment; it helps for ease of flow.

One important thing to note:  If you blood is not iron rich you will not be able to donate, so the second after reading this start eating dried fruits, especially raisins, dark green veggies like spinach, most meats and seafood, fortified cereals, egg yolks, and beans.

Babysitting will be available on the premises, for your convenience.

For answers to your questions go to:  www.nybloodcenter.org or call 800-933-2566

Donna Penczak January 27, 2011 at 02:56 PM
People over 75 can (and do) donate as long as they provide a doctor's note which states they are in good health. Donna penczak, Account Manager for Long Island Blood Services
Donna Penczak January 28, 2011 at 06:34 PM
NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER ALONG WITH MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND OTHER TRI-STATE PUBLIC OFFICIALS HAVE DECLARED A BLOOD EMERGENCY DUE TO THE SNOWSTORMS! In the last 6 weeks we've lost 8000 pints of blood. The Universal Donor, O- negative, which is normally maintained at a 3-5 supply is down to less than 2 days. PLEASE DONATE NOW! Thank you. Donna Penczak, Account Manager for Long Island Blood Services

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