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Blood drives take hit from snowstorm

Travelers weren’t the only ones to take a hit this snowy winter.

The Thursday, February 13 snowstorm pummeled New York-area blood supplies as more than 1,500 units were lost due to cancelled blood drives, leaving the New York Blood Center (NYBC) asking donors to come to the rescue of those in need of life-saving blood.

According to the NYBC, the state-of-emergency-storm left dozens of blood drives across the city cancelled and most of the eight major blood types still below target levels, “notably the supply of O-Negative blood – ‘universal donor’ blood that can be transfused into anyone in a trauma situation.  Platelets — needed for clotting — have only a five-day shelf life. Meeting the needs of cancer patients and others who require this lifesaving blood component continues to be a challenge.”

Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, blood pressure and hematocrit level. Eligible donors include those at least 16 years of age (with parental permission or consent), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and New York or New Jersey State Department of Health donor criteria. People age 76 or over may donate with a doctor’s note.

For information on how to fill the void – and how to donate – visit www.nybloodcenter.org.

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