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The Gift of Life Flows Through Your Veins!
Date:7/23/2009

Diverse Donors Make the Difference

NEW YORK, July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Minority Donor Awareness Day is August 1, and New York Blood Center (NYBC) and its regions in Manhattan, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Brooklyn/Staten Island, and New Jersey call on the community to help us meet the great need for blood from diverse donors.

Historically, National Minority Donor Awareness Day emphasized minority organ and tissue donation, but blood donation remains the most widely used gift of life. Organ and tissue transplant procedures cannot take place without adequate blood supplies, and many patients have unique blood needs that can only be met by blood donors of the same ethnic or racial background.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. Your community blood supply is a lifeline for you, your family, neighbors, and friends. NYBC serves one of the most diverse areas in the nation making it imperative that we not only maintain an ample blood supply, but also collect blood that closely mirrors the diversity of the communities we serve. A shortage of diverse blood donors can seriously jeopardize patient care.

Currently, NYBC donors are 71% White, 8.4% Hispanic/Latino, 6.8% Black/African American, and 4.6% Asian/Pacific Islander. Unfortunately, this does not mirror the diversity of our patient population.

The goal of New York Blood Center's PreciseMatch(R) Program is to ensure diverse communities have access to the most precisely matched blood products whenever patients might need them. Some chronically transfused patients, such as those with sickle cell disease, thalassemia, cancer or leukemia, pregnant women and newborn babies, can build up antibodies following frequent transfusions and may "reject" a transfusion or have a bad transfusion reaction. These patients require a precisely-matched transfusion from someone who has inherited the same antigens, or markers, in their blood. Like eye color, or other inherited characteristics, this "precise match" blood is most often found in someone from the same ethnic or racial background.

Please give blood today. You can also help patients in need by organizing a blood drive in your community, house of worship, or place of work. People can give blood every 56 days.

To donate blood, please call:

Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566

Visit: www.nybloodcenter.org

To schedule your very own blood drive please contact:

    Queens/Long Island            Karen Muscolino              516-478-5038
                                  Kmuscolino@nybloodcenter.org

    Manhattan                     Patty Killeen                646-812-9014
                                  Pkilleen@nybloodcenter.org

    Brooklyn/Staten Island        Wally Farraj                 718-797-7825
                                  Wfarraj@nybloodcenter.org

    Bronx/Hudson Valley           Andrea Cefarelli             914-784-4639
                                  Acefarelli@nybloodcenter.org

    New Jersey                    Marie Forrestal              732-220-7184
                                  Mforrestal@nybloodcenter.org


If you cannot donate but still wish to participate in bringing lifesaving products to patients in need, please consider volunteering at a local blood drive.

Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive. NYBC also offers special community service scholarships for students who organize community blood drives during the summer. Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 (with parental permission or consent), 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. People over 75 may donate with a doctor's note.

About New York Blood Center:

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.

    Contact:  Leslie Gonzalez
    lgonzalez2@nybloodcenter.org
    (212) 570-3304  Office
    (646) 342-3038  Mobile



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SOURCE New York Blood Center
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