Giving blood saves lives.
That’s the reason Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D-North Syracuse), the American Red Cross and numerous local businesses teamed up to present the second annual Lifesavers’ Party Tuesday July 22 at Driver’s Village in Cicero. The day-long blood drive collected over 100 pints of blood at a time when the Red Cross needs it most.
“Summer is when blood drives make the most difference,” Stirpe said. “When I first approached the Red Cross about this two years ago, I intended to do it in the spring. But they said spring is when everyone does [blood drives] — you have all of the college kids and the high school kids doing them. But in the summer, it’s harder.”
Kristin Crandall of the American Red Cross confirmed that summer presents a dual challenge.
“In summer, more people are out and about, they’re on vacation, they’re not at home,” Crandall said. “So they’re not donating blood. At the same time, because more people are out and about, there are more accidents and there’s a greater need for donations.”
Crandall said that results in a critical situation for the Red Cross.
“Right now, we have about a two-day supply,” she said. “We’re comfortable with about a six-week supply. So yes, the need is critical.”
As a result, when Stirpe approached the Red Cross last year about a day-long blood drive event featuring prizes donated by local businesses, live entertainment from award-winning local acts and food donated by local grocers and bakers, the organization jumped on board.
“Assemblyman Stirpe’s office has been wonderful,” Crandall said. “They took on a really personal, really grassroots effort to bring in people and to make this successful.”
And successful it was — this year’s event collected 104 units of blood, 25 more than last year and nearly 30 more than the goal of 85.
“Just to give you a point of reference, the average blood drive collects about 30 to 40 units,” Crandall said. “So this was phenomenal.”
Stirpe, a lifelong blood donor, was thrilled to collect so much.
“Personally, now that I’m in office and I have the staff and the clout to do these kinds of things, I really think it’s something I have to do,” he said. “My father owned a restaurant in Clyde, NY, and he ran the local blood drives there for 20 or 30 years. It was natural for me to follow that with the Lifesavers’ Party.”
“It’s phenomenal what his office has done,” Crandall said. “I can’t say enough about the assemblyman. He is so passionate about getting as many people in that door as possible.”
Stirpe said the party is something he plans to continue throughout his tenure in office.
“Next year, the goal’s 200,” he said.
If you would like to donate blood, call 1-800-448-3543 or visit donateblood.org.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.