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Gioia & New York Blood Center Call for City Aid in Expansion of Mobile Blood Donor Coach Program

Expansion Of Successful And Effective Campaign Could Help Prevent Another Blood Crisis, Allow More New Yorkers To Give

NYC Has Just Six Coaches, Orlando Has 35!!!

NEW YORK, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With New York in the midst of a dangerous blood emergency, New York City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Queens), Chairman of the City Council Committee on Oversight and Investigation, and representatives of New York Blood Center called for city aid in expanding the successful mobile donation program that has helped New Yorkers give blood all over the city.

New York Blood Center has issued an urgent, emergency appeal for blood after the center's supplies reached critically low levels. High gas prices and a tough economy have slowed down blood donations in the summer months, which are already typical low because school is out and many people are on vacation. New York Blood Center must collect 2,000 units of blood every day to have enough supply to help patients from New York and New Jersey. The blood supply is currently down to a 3-day supply, and falling, meaning that New York is at dangerously low levels.

Other cities make extensive use of mobile donor coaches. The City of Orlando uses 35 donor coaches. Both Los Angeles and Dallas use large numbers of coaches because both cities have large geographic areas to traverse. New York City currently has just six dedicated donor coaches, all in constant use and many in need of repair.

To increase the total amount of donors, and help fend off the crisis, Councilman Gioia and New York Blood Center are calling for City aid in the expansion of the mobile blood donation program. The wildly successful program allows New York Blood Center to reach communities in the five New York City boroughs with historically low donation rates, but whose blood is critically needed to help those suffering from a variety of health conditions, including sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and leukemia. Statistics show an increase not only in the number of blood drives with the use of the donor coaches but also in the units of blood collected by donor coaches over the last five years. The total number of mobile bus drives increased from 1,317 in 2002 to 1,827 in 2006. The total number of collections from mobile bus drives increased from 28,453 to 38,972.

"New Yorkers have always given blood when faced with a crisis," said Councilman Gioia. "But it's difficult to give blood when there are no facilities by where you work or live, and driving isn't an option. We need to stop the boom and bust cycle or blood donation, and more mobile vans will do that. Expanding the mobile donation center program makes sense so that we can expand the number of New Yorkers who want to give blood but don't have access to donation sites. New Yorkers have generous hearts; we just need to make it easier for them."

"Patient care is now threatened based on an extremely tight, three-day blood supply," said Robert L. Jones, MD, President, New York Blood Center. "We certainly welcome the public's help to get through this emergency period, and we're always looking for ways to prevent future emergencies."

Recent medical advances have increased the need for blood, with more patients being saved than ever. One out of three people in their lifetime will require a life saving blood transfusion, and each donation can save up to three lives.

All donors receive free mini-medical exams on site and information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 with parental consent (in NY) or 17 (in NJ), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. Inquiries are also welcomed from organizations who would like to schedule an emergency blood drive.

To contact NYBC:

Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566


3-1-1 Within New York City; 212 - NEW - YORK in New York State

New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to patients in greater New York since 1964. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals and transfusion medicine physicians.

Time: 11 AM Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Location: 220 East 42nd Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues

Contact: Leslie Gonzalez

(212) 570-3304 office

(646) 342-3038 cell

SOURCE New York Blood Center
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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