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Queens Chronicle

OPINION Urgent: Donate blood today and save a life

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:25 pm, Thu Apr 3, 2014.

Our current blood supply has fallen dangerously low in New York City, and I am encouraging local residents to join me and donate blood to help your fellow New Yorkers and overcome this blood shortage.

Due to the recent winter storms and freezing temperatures, many of the normal blood donations have not happened and hundreds of blood drives have been canceled. More than 20,000 blood and platelet donations went uncollected because of inclement weather, putting blood supplies at local hospitals at risk and creating an even greater need for people in our community to donate.

As someone who is a frequent blood donor, I can assure you that donating blood is safe and simple. The entire process takes about an hour, and the actual donation is done by a specially trained technician and usually takes less than 15 minutes.

Right now, blood is being distributed to hospitals to help those in need as quickly as donations are coming in. Even before the recent extreme weather, the Red Cross and other organizations that collect blood donations were struggling to keep our blood supplies at an adequate level.

Only about 5 percent of eligible donors across the country currently give blood. Anyone who is eligible to donate is strongly encouraged to do so; however, blood and platelet donors with the most in-demand blood types — O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative — are most urgently needed.

Your donation can make a difference and help save a life. Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, and annually about 5 million people require blood transfusions to replace blood lost in surgeries and serious accidents, or to help those suffering from illnesses like kidney disease and cancer. Because blood can’t be manufactured or harvested, the Red Cross and people in our community depend on the generosity of the public to meet blood supply needs.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

I strongly urge you to join me and help our city by donating today. The West Hamilton Beach Fire Department will be holding its blood drive on Saturday, April 12 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the firehouse, located at 102-33 Davenport Court. Every registered donor will be entered into a raffle to win a pair of Yankees tickets. Also, keep an eye out for my upcoming annual health fairs, where you will have the opportunity to donate as well.

For more information about donating blood or to make an appointment to donate, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1 (800) RED CROSS (733-2767). If you have any questions on this or any other community issue, please feel free to call my office at (718) 945-9550 or email me at goldfederp@assembly.state.ny.us.

Phillip Goldfeder is New York State Assemblyman for the 23rd District, in South Queens and the Rockaways.

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