Queens residents are being asked to roll up their sleeves and do their part to help alleviate a blood shortage emergency.
In commemoration of World Blood Donor Day, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and the New York Blood Center (NYBC) will host a blood drive on Tuesday, June 14, from noon to 6 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens.
“The recent alarming drop in blood donation is a major concern to all of us, but especially to those who urgently need transfusions of life-saving blood and blood products,” Richards said. “We can do our part to address this troubling situation by participating in our June 14 blood drive. I can think of no better way to celebrate World Blood Donor Day than by donating blood during this critically important blood drive.”
The Borough Hall blood drive is a response to the NYBC’s declaration of a blood emergency last month, citing dwindling supplies. According to the NYBC, the region’s blood supply currently stays at a three-day level.
“We are so grateful to Borough President Donovan Richards for raising awareness of the dire need for blood donations and for hosting a blood drive at Queens Borough Hall,” NYBC VP Andrea Cegarelli said. “Blood donations save lives, and we can use all the help we can get as we head into the summer months when it is even more difficult to turn out donors. We highly encourage all who are able to sign up to donate and help our fellow New Yorkers.”
Meanwhile, NYBC will hold another blood drive in southeast Queens on Sunday, June 12 in memory of Gilbert “Pepe” McConnell, a young man who died of complications from sickle cell disease, an inherited red cell disorder that is prevalent in the African American community.
The blood drive will be held at Lebanon Seventh Day Adventist Church in Laurelton, located at 131-72 223rd St. from 10 a,m, to 4 p.m.
McConnell relied on blood transfusions to stay healthy, as sickle cell disease patients often need blood transfusions every few weeks and require very closely matched blood products because their immune systems make antibodies directed towards transfused red blood cells. These vital blood products can often only be found in donors with the same racial or ethnic heritage, making donations from people of color particularly important, according to the NYBC.
It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can save multiple lives. Roughly one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion. In addition to patients with sickle cell disease, those in need include cancer patients, accident, burn or trauma victims, newborn babies and their mothers, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from thalassemia, and many more.
Those interested in donating blood in both drives are asked to make an appointment by clicking here or calling 1-800-933-2566. To prevent the potential person-to-person spread of COVID-19, individuals who are currently experiencing flu-like symptoms are asked to not donate blood at this time.