New Jersey’s blood supply levels drop alarmingly low

By Keanu Austin

New Jersey’s blood supply levels were severely low in January, according to the Central Jersey Blood Center in Shrewsbury Township.

January being a slow month for blood donations because of holidays and winter weather is par for the course, but the Central Jersey Blood Center says that the blood shortage for this year’s National Blood Donation Month is the most severe in recent history.

Most of the blame for the blood shortage that is affecting the nation lies with January’s snowstorms, which have caused a mass cancellation of scheduled blood drives.

“Lots of blood drives were cancelled in the New Jersey area,” said Mikki Clark, a New York Blood Center representative.
The snowstorms, which have continued into the beginning of February, have become so relentless and hindered donation efforts so greatly that the New York Blood Center had to cancel more than 100 blood drives.

Similarly, the American Red Cross was forced to cancel its own scheduled blood drives in as many as 26 states, according to the organization’s blog.

Kean University’s Center for Leadership and Service was successfully able to hold a blood drive on campus on Jan. 28 with the help of New Jersey Blood Services, which is a division of the New York Blood Center.

“We hold a blood drive every month,” said Daisha Davis, a service specialist in the Center for Leadership and Service. “You’re allowed to give one pint every fifty six days.”

Each blood drive in the previous semester had approximately 100 donors.

“The turnouts for the previous semesters’ blood drives were really good,” said Meghan Tell, another service specialist in the Center for Leadership and Service.
“You can give a whole blood donation or use our new method to give an Alyx donation,” said Aisha Hussain, a donor relations associate with the New York
Blood Center.

A whole blood donation is the standard type of blood donation in which a donor can give a pint of blood every 56 days. An Alyx donation, collects twice as many red blood cells than a whole blood donation.

Alyx donors can donate every four months and are given saline solution to replace the volume of red cells collected during the automated procedure.
The Center for Leadership and Service is holding its next blood drive on Feb. 20, and Kean Ocean Campus Life held a blood drive on Feb. 3.

New Jersey Blood Services advises donors to plan to spend about an hour at the blood drive. Apart from the actual drawing of blood, the donation procedure involves providing sufficient proof of identification and information about your medical history.

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