By Lauren Wanko
They’re calling it a blood emergency.
“Last week when we had the snowstorm in New Jersey and New York there was about 3,000 units of blood that were lost because of cancellations, it’s the largest loss we had since Superstorm Sandy,” said New York Blood Center Recruitment Programs Manager Sharon Zetts.
Today’s wintery mix is only intensifying the blood center’s need for donations. As of this afternoon, the non-profit lost at least 200 pints of blood. Drives today were delayed, others even canceled.
“It means that we don’t have as much blood ready today for the hospitals tomorrow. The good thing is that we plan ahead and so if we need to we can stock up and have blood make sure all the hospitals are fully supplied. It’s the aftermath that we really have a problem. So We’re trying to get people to donate now so we have blood the hospitals need in the next week or two,” Zetts said.
Cheryl Gunn has been donating blood for about 25 years.
“I thought about not coming today because of the weather situation and then I said, ‘No, I committed myself to do it, that’s why I’m here,'” she said.
Because of New York Blood Center’s blood emergency, the organization is reaching out to individual donors and donor groups who typically coordinate mobile blood drives like one at Rutgers University. The non-profit has 20 of their own donation centers, but they say they rely on mobile sites to meet the daily need for blood.
New Jersey Blood Services and its parent company New York Blood Center need 2,000 pints of blood daily.
“I’m a pharmacy student and I see that hospitals, blood is so necessary to save so many lives. I feel as a health care student I have a commitment towards donating blood,” said Nirav Harivhakti.
Rutgers University’s pharmacy honors society sponsored this blood drive. Harivhakti is disappointed with the turnout.
“It’s bad weather out there and not a lot of people are coming in,” Harivhakti said.
Still, student Henry Uran did come in to donate. He got a email about the need for donations.
When asked what compelled him to come, Uran said, “So I’m actually on the pre-med track and I know that around the country there is a blood shortage and if I’m able to donate I know that me donating I can save three lives and I do like saving lives so I decided to come.”
New York Blood Center hopes that message will resonate among donors throughout the rest of the winter.