EDISON – New Jersey Blood Services will hold a blood drive in honor of a student teacher and parent whose lives were saved through blood donations. The blood drive will take place on Thursday, March 17, from 2-8 p.m. at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, located at 2485 Woodbridge Avenue in Edison.
The New Jersey Blood Services’ blood drive honors Angela Dowdy and Julia Forsythe. Dowdy, a reading teacher at Benjamin Franklin, underwent heart surgery resulting from complications of diabetes. Forsythe, a parent with three children attending Benjamin Franklin, is undergoing cancer treatments at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Transfusions of blood and blood products helped to save the lives of both individuals.
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.
Blood donation remains the most widely used gift of life. NYBC takes very seriously its responsibility to provide a safe, adequate, reliable and diverse blood supply for the 20 million people in its service area. NYBC serves one of the most diverse areas in the nation, making it imperative that it not only maintain an ample blood supply, but also collect blood that closely mirrors the diversity of the communities it serves.
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.
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 please organize a blood drive. NYBC will assist you every step of the way. Please continue to give the gift of life for patients in need. Somewhere, there is a patient fighting to save his or her own life. If you cannot donate, then please ask someone to donate for you.
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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