Our community blood supply is at critical levels. Typically, the Red Cross sees about a 15% decrease in donations during the summer. However, this summer the situation is even more dire. Orange and Ulster Counties are covered by the New York--Penn Region of the American Red Cross which serves 120 hospitals and 51 other counties in New York State. Right now, this region is down 25% from where it needs to be to ensure a strong healthy blood supply.
Ideally, the Red Cross needs a five to seven-day supply of blood to meet the needs of hospitals and to be ready for any potential disasters that may occur. However, this summer, the New York--Penn Region has averaged only a 1 ½ day supply, and only a one-day supply for several blood types.
"New Yorkers are very generous," said Senator Larkin. "And New York’s young people are among the most active and socially conscious in the nation. I’m appealing to Hudson Valley students to get involved in this effort because I know they will respond. It only takes one hour of your time, and doesn’t cost a dime to make a blood donation. In that one hour, you could end up saving three lives. What a great thing to be able to say that you did over the summer break."
The American Red Cross Blood Services has declared August 1 – 13 as "Student Donor Days" in New York. All age-eligible high school students (16 – 18) who donate blood during this time will be automatically entered to win one of dozens of great prizes, including three Apple iPod Minis and $50 gas cards. Students can make appointments at any blood drive in the region by calling 1-(800) GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visiting www.donatebloodnow.org. All 16-year-old students must present a signed copy of the New York State Informed Parental Consent for a 16-Year-Old to Donate Whole Blood at the time of donation. Consent forms can be downloaded from the "Donate Blood" website. This is the second annual special summer promotion for students, providing them an opportunity to donate blood when school is out of session.