By New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd, MPH
On June 14, New Jersey will celebrate World Blood Donor Day to raise awareness of the need for blood and to thank volunteers in New Jersey who donate the lifesaving gift of blood.
Every day hospitals need a ready supply of blood to treat patients with injuries and illnesses and to perform surgery. Approximately one in seven people entering the hospital need blood. Yet hospitals often have less than a two-day supply of blood on hand.
To increase blood donation in New Jersey, the Department of Health (DOH) along with the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition (NJWBDC) have partnered with the 2014 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee to conduct an eight-month-long campaign called the Super Community Blood Drive. Between Memorial Day weekend and the months leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday, individuals will be able to donate at thousands of blood drives held across our state. This campaign represents a special collaboration between New Jersey and New York to increase the blood supply for both our states.
Every person who offers to donate blood during the campaign will receive a red Super Community Blood Drive wristband and the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.
The launch comes at an important time because donations decrease during the summer months when people take vacations from school and work. Under the leadership of Governor Christie, my department has been working to increase blood donations in New Jersey. Through our 2012 summer blood drive campaign, we were able to increase units of blood collected by 11 percent and the number of summer blood drives by nearly 14 percent over the previous year. This partnership with the Super Bowl Host Committee will build upon this progress-having the potential to dramatically increase the number of donors in the State, which will have a lasting impact on our blood supply.
All eight blood centers and seven hospital collection facilities in New Jersey are participating in the Super Community Blood Drive by publicizing the campaign through their drives and donor recruitment initiatives in high schools, colleges, workplaces and local communities. A list of these blood centers and hospital collection facilities is available online at www.njsave3lives.com.
NJWBDC representatives – comprised of businesses, trade associations, alliances, government agencies, and academic and healthcare institutions – will be reaching out to tens of thousands of organizations and members to generate participation around this initiative. Coalition plans include community and campus blood drives in concert with sporting events, expanded workplace drives in collaboration with members of their business communities and training sessions on how to conduct blood drives.
I will be working closely with my Coalition co-chair, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Vice President Kevin Rigby, to call attention to the need for blood donation throughout the campaign and encourage new donors. The Super Community Blood Drive is a unique opportunity to increase New Jersey’s blood supply. My hope is that all residents will take the time to donate this summer in support of their favorite sports team to help alleviate the blood shortage – one donation can save three lives.
To learn more about the Super Community Blood Drive, visit the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition Website at: www.njsave3lives.com.
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