PISCATAWAY – New Jersey Blood Services will host a blood drive aboard its mobile bus unit to encourage residents to come out to donate blood for patients in need of lifesaving blood and blood products. The blood drive, in memory of Sean Hanna and sponsored by Grace Alliance Church, will take place on Sunday, March 13, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at Timothy Christian School, located at 2008 Ethel Road, Piscataway.
Sean Hanna, a resident of Piscataway, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma in October 1993. He was seven years old. Over the next 14 years, Hanna bravely fought his disease and endured lengthy hospital stays and treatments that included chemotherapy, radiation therapy, drug therapy and bone marrow transplants. Hanna refused to let cancer define him and continued to live life with family and friends. His passion for life was evident through his high school years and as a student at Rutgers University. In April 2007, Hanna succumbed to graft versus host disease, but was cancer free.
Lymphoma is a general term for a group of blood cancers that starts in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system that defends against infection. Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) are the two main types of lymphoma. Lymphoma results when a lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) undergoes a malignant change and multiplies, eventually crowding out healthy cells and creating tumors. These tumors enlarge the lymph nodes and/or grow in other places that are part of the immune system.
Each day in the U.S., more than 40,000 units of blood are needed in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims. Approximately five million Americans will receive a blood transfusion this year, and the only place to get this precious resource is from volunteer blood donors.
New Jersey Blood Services, a division of New York Blood Center (NYBC) serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, urges New Jersey residents to please donate blood that will help to save the lives of patients in need of blood transfusions.
Sixty percent of New Jersey residents are eligible to donate, yet only 3.6% donate on a regular basis. The total number of red blood cell units transfused annually in New Jersey has steadily increased from 310,156 units in 1996 to 344,800 units in 2009, an 11% increase, resulting in a continuing need for New Jersey residents to donate regularly. In 2009, 12% of the blood needed for New Jersey hospital patients was imported from out-of-state due to area shortages.
The need for blood and blood products is always constant. NYBC urges residents to answer the call for blood donations throughout the year. Whole blood has a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets only 5 days. Individuals can donate one unit of whole blood every 56 days and platelets up to 24 times per year. One unit of whole blood can potentially save the lives of three people once it is separated into its component parts of red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Businesses and community groups are encouraged to organize a blood drive.
To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.
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