Gold’s Gym holds much needed blood drive

The post-Christmas blizzard dampened the holiday spirits of many New Yorkers – but it also did far worse than block driveways, as many of those in need were deprived of a vital gift.
The New York Blood Center (NYBC) reported a shortage of 2,000 donations after the storm forced the cancellation of dozens of blood drives throughout the city. These cancellations have forced the NYBC to double its efforts of replenishing its supply.
“This particular week is already challenging because it’s sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s Eve,” said Harvey Schaffler, executive director of the NYBC. “Even if it was sunny, it would be slow anyhow. Being smacked with a blizzard made it even worse.”
According to Schaffler, the NYBC needs to maintain a five to seven day supply of blood in order to properly serve patients. The storm that dumped nearly two feet of snow on the area left the organization with barely a two day supply – far below what Schaffler termed his “comfort zone.”
Blood can last up to 42 days in storage; however some hospital procedures, like those involving newborns, require fresh blood. Platelets, which are used for clotting, only have a five day shelf life – making those donations the most important.
“When you donate blood, it is separated into several components, including platelets,” said Schaffler. “Platelets are vital for chemotherapy patients, as chemo kills platelets.”
In the days following the storm, the NYBC reached out to local businesses to reschedule donation drives in an effort to make up for its losses. Gold’s Gym in Howard Beach was one of those businesses, as they held a drive on Sunday, January 2.
Danielle Gordon, daughter of the location’s owner Steve Gordon, has been volunteering with the NYBC for two years. She said that a storm of this magnitude hurts, but it can also help raise awareness for the city’s need for blood donations.
“I called more people than I ever have this week,” said Gordon, 17. “A lot of people don’t donate even if they can. If these people donated regularly, there would never be a shortage.”
Dionis Xhindolli, a blood technician with NYBC for 10 years, agreed and said that the center won’t let a snow storm cripple its efforts to bring vital lifeblood to those in need.
“This blood saves lives. There are a lot of people in need of transfusions that rely on us,” he said. “We took a big hit from the blizzard, but with help we can recover.”
To find a blood drive near you, call 1-800-933-Blood, Ext. 2566 or log on to www.nybloodcenter.org.

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