State Senator Neil D. Breslin (D-Albany) today reminded constituents that the state’s blood supply usually drops by about 10 to 15 percent during the summer, which can lead to dire circumstances for hospital patients in need of transfusions. He encouraged volunteers to help prevent the rationing of blood supplies by donating blood.
"When a personal health crisis hits, blood must be immediately available," said Senator Breslin. "A dwindling blood supply during the busy summer months can literally mean the difference between life and death. As you know, the need for blood never takes a holiday."
American Red Cross officials say summer is typically a time when donations drop off due to travel and other vacation activities. Also fueling the decline is the fact that many donors come from schools and universities, which are out of session for the season. Yet accidents and emergencies often increase during the summer months, just when the blood supply is already at critically low levels.
To help offset the summer shortage, Senator Breslin urged currently eligible and new donors to take an hour out of their busy summer schedule to give blood. "The time spent will be well worth it in the lives of those you help with just one donation," he said. "One pint of blood can save three lives."
Blood donors must be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health. In New York State, 16-year-olds may donate blood provided they bring a signed parental permission consent form, available at www.donatebloodnow.org/16 . There are, however, certain health conditions that can prevent someone from donating blood.
The American Red Cross Blood Services, New York-Penn Region provides blood products to approximately 120 hospitals throughout upstate New York. Those in need include cancer patients; accident, burn or trauma victims; patients undergoing surgery or a transplant; and newborn babies. According to the American Red Cross website, the region needs to collect about 1,200 units of blood every day to maintain a sufficient blood supply. As of last week, the region was at a shortfall of 571 units, which equates to about a half-day supply.
While 60 percent of the American population is eligible to donate blood, only 5 percent give. For more information on donor eligibility in the Capital District, call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit www.donatebloodnow.org .
"Without volunteer donors, our community will not have an adequate blood supply, it’s that simple," Senator Breslin concluded. "In an era of sophisticated medical technology, there is still no substitute for blood."