Just two weeks ago, on Thursday, April 25, the New York Blood Center declared a blood emergency as the number of donors across the tri-state area have dramatically dipped below average, with new data from the center showing numbers at 185,856, down from 270,501 in 2010, a 31-percent decline. Numbers dropped nearly 18,000 alone between 2018 and 2019.
Andrea Cefarelli, senior executive director of donor recruitment and marketing at New York Blood Center noted, “Fewer people are giving blood every year for the past 10 years.” While the number of donations has decreased, the need is consistent. Nearly 2000 patients a day in New York and New Jersey rely on red blood cell donations: cancer patients; accident, burn, or trauma victims; newborns and their mothers; transplant recipients; surgery patients; chronically transfused patients with sickle cell disease or thalassemia; and others. On average, one in seven hospital admissions require blood transfusions, as supplies have to be continually replenished since platelets have a shelf life of only five days.
Cefarelli continued, “School breaks in April were especially low, with Easter and Passover impacting donor turnout. We had exactly what we needed, but were well below.”
NYBC, an “independent, community-based, nonprofit blood center” holds 500 blood drives a month, 6000 throughout the year, across Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, and the Hudson Valley. Types O-negative and B-negative seem to always be in short supply so those with matching types are encouraged to give back. O-negative blood type is a “universal donor” and capable of being used in emergencies.
“There’s a huge shortage. One pint of blood saves a life, so we encourage everyone to go out and participate, here or closer to their home,” said Linda Sweeney, vice president of Eastern Long Island Hospital. ELIH makes a point to host two drives a year, with one a few days away.
Upcoming NYBC drives on the East End include Thursday, May 9, from 8:15 AM to 5:15 PM at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport; Saturday, May 11, from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Hampton Bays Fire Department; Tuesday, May 14, from 7:45 AM to 1:45 PM at Greenport High School; May 18 from 10 AM to 4 PM at Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton; May 22 from 2:15 PM to 8:15 PM at Southold Fire Department; and May 29 from 8 AM to 2 PM at Pierson Middle/High School in Sag Harbor and 1 PM to 7 PM at Hampton Bays Public Library.
Stay up-to-date on drives near you by visiting www.nybloodcenter.org.