Cranford Blood Donors Meet Patient They Helped Save

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CRANFORD — Ariel Fishman, who needed 70 pints of blood after he lost both legs in a taxi accident, met several of the blood donors who saved his life at an event sponsored by New York Blood Center (NYBC). Two of those donors were from Cranford.

The event, NYBC Chairpersons Recognition Breakfast and Awards Ceremony, was held at New York Academy of Medicine and honored special guest and blood donation advocate, Ariel Fishman. Fishman was critically injured when a taxi slammed into him while he was dropping his children off at school, crushing both of his legs. Fishman required numerous surgeries and ultimately the amputation of both legs. He received 70 units of blood during his treatment.

“If 70 different people hadn’t taken the one hour of their time to go to a blood drive or donor center and give blood, life would be very different for my children,” said Fishman.

Since his accident, Fishman has become an advocate for blood donation. “Every day we have the opportunity to change lives. Blood donors do just that and I hope my story will encourage others to give generously and ‘pay it forward’”

Two that paid it forward were Jaclyn Rumzie and Richard Pierce, Cranford. Each gives blood regularly with New Jersey Blood Services, a division of NYBC. Rumzie, a 2001 graduate of Cranford High School, got her start donating blood at the CHS high school drive and now donates at New Jersey Blood Services’ Scotch Plains Donor Room. Pierce gives blood at Hillside Avenue School.

Fishman met Rumzie and Pierce at the NYBC sponsored event. He and his blood donors were asked several months in advance if they wanted to meet each other. Those that could attend agreed to join him in a brief ceremony. Rumzie and Pierce were happy to be a part of the special day.

“We are thrilled that Jaclyn Rumzie and Richard Piece are regular donors and had the chance to meet Mr. Fishman,” said Marie Forrestal, director of donor recruitment & retention for NJBS. “They are a great example of two people who provide the ‘gift of life’ to those in need.”

“Nationwide, 60% of the population is eligible to donate blood, yet only 2% of people in New Jersey actually give,” noted Forrestal, Every day in the U.S. approximately 39,000 units of blood are required by hospitals to treat patients with cancer and other diseases, to support organ transplant recipients, and accident and trauma victims.

NJBS holds blood drives every day throughout the year. This December, they need to schedule more drives to meet patient demand. “There are not enough blood drives on the calendar for December. NJBS is asking sponsors to step up and host a drive for their organization or community”, said Forrestal. “And if we have bad weather to keep otherwise busy donors away, the blood supply to area hospitals could be inadequate over the holiday period.” To host a blood drive, call Marie Forrestal at 732-220-7070. To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, call 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566) or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.


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