Summer traditionally has seen a lull in the number of blood drives in the north country compared with when schools are in session and young adults participate.
To keep the blood supply coming in at a steady pace, Jane G. Gendron, community chapter executive of the American Red Cross of Northern New York, said shed love to see north country residents fill scheduled drives with appointments, and other agencies and businesses host additional drives.
Its easier to schedule when everyones in an office, but in the summer people are gone and away, she said. Unfortunately, people dont think about giving blood then and theres still an emergency need for giving blood. Theres a lot of accidents and people dont think about that in the summer. The need goes up a bit because people are traveling. If the bloods not there, that puts us in a tough spot.
When high school and college are in session, the local Red Cross would average about 40 blood drives per month, Mrs. Gendron said. Throughout the summer, the agency averages about half that, at 20 blood drives per month.
The NNY chapter never sets goals of pints of blood collected for each blood drive because the need for more blood always outweighs the success of each drive, she said.
We need more blood, so we need more donors, Mrs. Gendron said.
In June, she said, blood donations were down by 10 percent, or 50,000 fewer than anticipated, throughout Northern New York, Central New York, the Albany area and down to the Pennsylvania border. Some dedicated donors donate every 56 days, the minimum wait time between blood donations. Others donate sporadically.
According to the most recent data from the national American Red Cross, in 2006 there were only 9.5 million out of the nations population then of 300 million who donated blood.
Mrs. Gendron said she hopes to increase that number throughout the next several years. In June, the local agency nearly reached its 903-pint collection goal, with 867 pints of blood collected in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
There are a whole lot of people out there who arent giving blood, and while some cant, there are many who can, she said.
To become a blood donor, a person must be at least 17 years old, weigh more than 110 pounds and be in good general health.
People with Type O blood are particularly sought, Mrs. Gendron said, because it can be given to people of all blood types. Donations also are accepted from people with negative and positive types of A, B, and AB.
One way to increase donors is to have more blood drives widespread throughout Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, Mrs. Gendron said. Partnering with agencies and businesses to offer blood drives typically proves to be successful, she said.
Earlier this month, the NNY Red Cross teamed up with the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, and anyone who donated blood on one particular day received free admission into the zoo. Anyone who donates blood between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Ponderosa, 1290 Arsenal St., will receive a coupon for a free breakfast.
Places interested in hosting a blood drive should call Mrs. Gendron at 782-4410 for more information. To set up an appointment to donate blood at a drive, call 1 (800) 733-2767.
Blood drives scheduled through the end of August are listed on the agencys website, www.redcrossnny.com.