Graybeard Blood Drive Set For September 14
The last month has caused many problems for Rockaway residents as well as those throughout the Northeast blackout area, but one of the most severe consequences of the electrical short circuit may well lie in the lack of blood donations.
"We are pleading with the public!" Julie Robinson-Tingue, of the New York Blood Center, says. "We need people to come and donate. Usually, if we don’t collect enough blood, we can purchase it from other centers that have a surplus. But right now, everyone else is in a crisis as well. We can’t buy any. So whatever we collect- that’s it."
The inventory of blood in hospitals was dangerously low prior to the blackout. During the first week of July, donations were 50 percent below normal levels. Donation levels have not gone up, and the loss of blood from the shutting down of scheduled drives and blood centers during the blackout has made the problem even worse.
Robinson-Tingue explains the state of supplies qualifies as an emergency. Recommended guidelines call for a ten-day supply of blood in order to compensate for a crisis. Right now, hospitals in Queens only have a two-day supply of blood available on any given day. The blackout reduced the situation to a twenty-four hour supply.
However, a local group, the Graybeards, an organization formed to support the community after September 11 and the crash of Flight 587, is sponsoring a blood drive at St. Francis De Sales. This is not a new idea- they did the same last year and collected over 200 pints of blood for local hospitals.
The Graybeards, who mix their non-profit activities with their basketball team, are happy to help. "After the events of 2001 we decided it was time to get together and do more than play basketball." Rick Horan, one member of the group, said. The group’s president, Steve Stathis added "Last year, Rick Moran came to me with the idea as a tribute, to hold a blood drive around the time of Sept. 11. It seemed in keeping with what we wanted to do, as a group. "
The drive will be at St. Francis De Sales school on Beach 129 Street in Belle Harbor, on September 14, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Call for information or an appointment at 718-634-6812. To make a blood donation at your convenience, call the New York Blood center at 1-800-933-2566 or go to www. nybloodcenter.org.