By Naeisha Rose
More than 150 donors signed up for the Bayside Community Summer Blood Drive, sponsored by state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside), to help offset a seasonal blood shortage affecting the New York area.
Featuring representatives from the New York Blood Center, the event took place at Bay Terrace Shopping Center last week.
“This is the sixth year that we are doing this,” said Braunstein. “In the summer, frequently the blood center says that there is a blood shortage, so we volunteer to help organize a this blood drive and every year we get a good turnout.”
According to Donor Relations Associate James Faber of the Long Island Blood Service, the drop in blood donations stems from high school and college age students who are away for the summer.
“About 40 percent of all the blood donations come from high school and college students ages 16 to 22, but it is the summertime and everyone is on vacation,” said Faber. “We have a critical shortage at a lot of hospitals that are postponing surgery and we need blood.”
Nearly 2,000 donations are needed in New York and New Jersey alone, according to the New York Blood Center.
“Blood only lasts so long – like five days,” said Faber. “You have a perfect storm, with people being on vacation, therefore no more high school and college drives, and people get in more accidents in the summer.”
About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion for patients, according to the New York Blood Center. Cancer patients, accident, burn or trauma victims, newborns and their mothers, transplant recipients, surgery patients and chronically transfused patients depend on the donations.
Loretta Mayfield, a Bay Terrace resident, went to the mall — located at 211-39 26th Ave. — and was happy to be donating towards a good cause for the sixth time.
“I donate regularly,” said Mayfield. “I had a friend whose brother had a blood disease that he needed blood for constantly… and I’m A-negative, which is a rarer blood type so I come every time I can to donate.”
Alba Matthews, a 2018 Bayside High School graduate, was eager to help in the cause.
“I used to donate in high school and I wanted to keep donating now that I’m an adult,” said Matthews, 19. “I have an A-positive blood type and I feel like there are sick people who need it and I need to give back to the world,” added the soon-to-be Buffalo State college student.
David Czegledi of Ben’s Kosher Deli at Bayside Terrace Shopping Center was glad to give back, because a blood donation helped to save his grandson’s life.
“He was born as a preemie and used a lot of blood when he was born,” said Czegledi, whose grandson turned 15 on the day before the Aug. 9 blood drive. “I will be donating soup for every pint of blood donated,” added the O-positive donor.
Cambria Heights resident Nadine Edwards of the New York Blood Center was responsible for the blood drive.
“About five people benefit from one donation,” according to Edwards. “Os blood type can give to a majority of people, but O-negative can give to everyone… so when the students are out during the school year, our supply goes down. We need blood. We need blood.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose