State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) 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. She 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 Oppenheimer. "A dwindling blood supply during the busy summer months can literally mean the difference between life and death. The need for blood never takes a summer vacation."
Summer is typically a time when blood donations drop off due to travel and other vacation activities, the Westchester lawmaker said. 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 Oppenheimer urged currently eligible and new donors to take an hour out of their busy summer schedule to give blood. "One pint of blood can save three lives," she said. "The time spent will be well worth it in the lives of those you help with just one donation."
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.
While 60 percent of the American population is eligible to donate blood, only 5 percent give. For more information on donor eligibility call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit www.donatebloodnow.org.
"People have to step up and say, ‘I am going to become a blood donor,’" Senator Oppenheimer concluded. "Without volunteer donors, our community simply will not have an adequate blood supply. Despite enormous advances in medical technology, there is still no substitute for blood donation, the ultimate act of kindness."