For many, summer is all about relaxation and taking a much-needed vacation. Whether it’s loading up the car and taking the family to the beach, embarking on an adventure to a new place or soaking up the sun’s rays by the pool, summer means warm weather and easier living. Yet, while we enjoy all the season has to offer, we should consider lending a few hours and extending an arm by giving blood during the time of year when it’s needed the most. As part of my continued efforts to help raise awareness and prevent blood shortages, I’ll be hosting my 11th annual Lifesavers Blood Drive on Tuesday, July 18.
Blood donation holds a special place in my heart thanks in large part to my father. He held annual blood drives in the village of Clyde for 25 years and taught me the value of giving blood. It can be the difference between life and death, as my father experienced, firsthand, when he needed a blood transfusion during open heart surgery. Thanks to the generous people who understood the importance of donating blood as much as my father, he was able to receive the blood needed during the operation.
Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed daily in the United States, with someone requiring blood every two seconds, according to the Red Cross. With the success of last year’s 10th annual Lifesaver Blood Drive, this year the Red Cross is increasing the number of staff available to assist donors and make the donation process even smoother. Our goal is to collect over 200 units to ensure our community has access to lifesaving blood and platelets.
While we’re hoping to see record turnout at the event, it’s important to know beforehand whether you are eligible to donate. To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old (or 16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and have not donated in the past 56 days. Each participant will receive a brief exam prior to donating in which temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin are measured. Don’t forget to bring either your donor card, driver’s license or two other valid forms of ID.
Your health is also a vital part of the donation process. Before your donation, be sure to get a good night’s sleep, eat foods rich in iron like red meat, fish, chicken, beans and cereals, while avoiding foods with high fat content and stay hydrated by drinking an extra 16 ounces of water or a nonalcoholic beverage.
Approximately 6.8 million Americans give blood every year. Be one of them on Tuesday, July 18, from noon until 8 p.m. at Driver’s Village, located at 5885 E. Circle Drive in Cicero. Live music and refreshments will be provided.
To help save time donors can complete the RapidPass via the Red Cross website at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass 24 hours before the event to confirm your information, answer health-related questions, read through pre-donor materials and download or print the RapidPass to bring to the event. For more information, or if you have any questions about the event, please contact my office at (315) 452-1115 or StirpeA@nyassembly.gov