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'Universal Donors' Needed to Bolster Blood Supply in Union County

O-negative donors are urged to donate at upcoming blood drives, including two in Berkeley Heights and New Providence in mid-October.

New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS)a division of New York Blood Center (NYBC), is asking for the public’s help to maintain an adequate three-to-five day supply of O-negative blood. 

People with O-negative blood are known as “universal donors” because their blood can be transfused into anyone. It is found in just six percent of the population, and is often transfused to patients in emergency rooms and trauma situations when there is no time for blood typing.  

“Although we have not experienced a widespread shortage as is being reported in other parts of the country, we have noticed an uptick in local demand that may reflect shortages elsewhere. Local patients need our community’s help now to maintain the supply of O-negative blood,” said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis.  “Overall, our supply of blood is strong, and we’re confident of our ability to provide our 200 partner hospitals with whatever they need. But we can’t do it alone, and that’s why we’re asking our donors to roll up their sleeves.”

Opportunities to donate in Berkeley Heights and New Providence are coming up in October. One blood drive will be held on Oct. 10 at HP Financial Services, located at 200 Connell Dr., from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. In New Providence, a blood drive is scheduled for Oct. 13 at the New Providence Fire House, located at 175 Floral Ave., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Blood donations tend to be lowest during the summer months as regular donors left the area on vacation. Also, donations from high schools and colleges, which account for 25 percent of regional blood collection, decreased when schools closed for the summer.

Each and every day there are patients who depend on the transfusion of red blood cells, platelets and plasma to stay alive. But blood and blood products can’t be manufactured. They can only come from volunteer blood donors who take an hour to attend a blood drive or visit a donor center.

If you can't attend the blood drives in Berkeley Heights and New Providence, there are plenty of other opportunities during the first two weeks in October. Other blood drives scheduled are as follows:

Oct. 1 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Oct. 3 — Livingston Avenue School, 75 Livingston Ave., Cranford, 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Oct. 5 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Oct. 6 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 — St. Bernard's Church, 368 Sumner Ave., Plainfield, 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Oct. 8 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Oct. 10 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Oct. 10 — Kean University Center, 1000 Morris Ave., Union, 11:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Oct. 12 — The Outlet Collection/ Jersey Gardens, 651 Kapkowski Rd., Elizabeth, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Oct. 13 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Oct. 14 — St. Agnes Church, 332 Madison Hill Rd, Clark, 7:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Oct. 15 — Scotch Plains Donor Center, 2279 South Ave., Scotch Plains, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, please call, Toll Free, 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org

If you cannot donate but still wish to participate in bringing crucial blood products to patients in need, please ask someone to donate for you, or consider volunteering at a local blood drive.  NYBC also offers special community service scholarships for students who organize community blood drives.

Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive. Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, blood pressure and hematocrit level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 (with parental permission or consent), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. People over 75 may donate with a doctor's note.

About New York Blood Center: New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. For 50 years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine.

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