As a regular blood donor, State Senator Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) today encouraged constituents to remember that while the summer is coming to an end, the need for blood supplies continues year-round.
"Regardless of the season, there are always people who need blood," said Senator Oppenheimer, noting that blood donations typically decline by 10 to 15 percent during the busy summer months.
A frequent misconception, she says, is that supplies of blood which accrue throughout the year can be stockpiled.
"Platelets, used for leukemia and cancer patients, last only 5 days. Whole blood, used for severe blood loss, lasts five weeks. Red blood cells, for accident victims and surgery patients, last six weeks," Senator Oppenheimer explained. "The blood supply must be constantly replenished."
The Westchester lawmaker also noted that dangerous shortages of O negative and A negative supplies remain.
"We all expect that blood will be there when we or a loved one need it, but the only way to ensure its continued availability is to donate. I urge my constituents to consider donating blood. Be a true hero-- and possibly save a life by donating," Senator Oppenheimer said.
Donors must be 17 years of age, weigh 110 pounds and be in good health. In New York individuals who are 16 years old may donate, provided they bring an original signed New York State Informed Parental Consent form.
Appointments to donate blood may be made by calling the Red Cross at 1-800- GIVE LIFE, or visiting www.donatebloodnow.org.