Hosted at North Highlands Firehouse Aug. 1
By Clayton Smith
On Aug. 1, the New York Blood Center will host a blood drive at the North Highlands Firehouse. Volunteers are encouraged to attend and donate either plasma or red blood cells to ensure that the local blood inventories have an ample supply of all blood types.
Coordinator Dottie Gilman said that the hardest part about putting on a blood drive is getting people to respond and set aside the time so that they can donate.
“Blood is a product that has never been successfully manufactured, to my knowledge,” Gilman said, highlighting the importance of signing up as many volunteers as possible. The blood collecting machines will be run by employees of New York Blood Center, which has locations all over the Hudson Valley, from Hopewell Junction to Nanuet.
Those anxious about donating blood for the first time need not worry. “It’s much easier than people think,” explained the New York Blood Center’s Executive Director of Donor Recruitment Andrea Cefarelli. Donors must eat well and be hydrated before attending the blood drive. Upon arrival, donors will show their IDs and fill out a form documenting personal health and travel information. The process includes a free mini-medical exam, consisting of information about body temperature, blood pressure, and hematocrit level. The actual process of giving blood only lasts 5 to 11 minutes, and then volunteers are encouraged to move to a refreshment area. Volunteers should set aside an hour to complete the process from start to finish.
After the blood has been collected it will be taken to a component laboratory for testing. Next it will be sent to an inventory and distributed based on the needs of hospitals in the area. Every year, NYBC provides roughly one million blood products to 200 hospitals in the Northeast.
Community blood drives have taken place at the firehouse of the North Highlands Fire Department since 1997 and the upcoming drive is expected to pull in around 60 donations, while past drives ranged from 60 to 120. Eligible donors must be at least 16 (with parental consent) and in good health, weighing at least 110 pounds. Those over 75 years old can donate with a doctor’s note. The drive will last from 2 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 1, at the North Highlands Fire Department, located at 504 Fishkill Road, in Cold Spring. For more information call the New York Blood Center at 1-800-933-2566 or visit their website at nybloodcenter.org.