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This Guy's Got Blood, and Heart -- At 320 and Counting, Al Fischer Sets Record for Blood Donations
Date:8/31/2009

NEW YORK, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- You may guess by reading his vanity license plate, "O BLOOD," Albert Fischer of Massapequa, NY is a rare breed. He's also a rare blood type: O-positive, "Code 96" found in one out of 200, and a dedicated blood donor.

Make that a VERY dedicated blood donor: September 8, 2009 will be Albert Fischer's 320th volunteer whole blood donation, the most on record for New York Blood Center (NYBC) and its regional operations in New York City, Brooklyn/Staten Island, Long Island, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey. Fischer himself has donated whole blood regularly since 1951, and has kept blood donation records that precede the establishment of NYBC in 1964. He has donated whole blood virtually every 56 days since that time, for nearly 60 years.

Albert Fischer remembers his first volunteer blood donation while visiting relatives in Union, South Carolina.

"The First Baptist Church held a blood drive, so I went," he said. "I ended up staying a while, and when the church held another drive, I gave again, and just kept on giving."

"He lives to donate blood," said Harvey Schaffler, Vice President of Long Island Blood Services. Albert Fischer's September 8 whole blood donation will total 40 gallons collected by New York Blood Center.

Fischer has been recognized as one of the Bush Administration's "Thousand Points of Light," and even applied for the Guinness Book of World Records several years ago.

"Of course I'd like to be in there," Fischer said. The top two record holders for donating the most blood are from South Africa. Albert Fischer believes he may be in 4th place, and has reached out to other top donors. "There's one record holder from St. Louis who is about six pints ahead of me," he said.

Albert Fischer's O-positive blood can be given to 85 percent of the patient population, but his "Code 96" rarity is considered the "needle in a haystack" as far as blood donors go: because his red cells lack a combination of antigens, Albert's blood is ideal for transplant patients and chronically transfused individuals who may otherwise reject more common blood.

On September 8, Albert Fischer will give blood with the "Golden Donors," a group of committed volunteer retirees, at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY, where donors and their guests are treated to live entertainment. Additional Golden Donors blood drives will be held simultaneously between the hours of 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM at the Bohemia, Lake Success and Rockville Centre Donor Centers. Albert Fischer's commitment to donating blood and the dedication of the Golden Donors group set a steadfast example for others. Approximately 45 percent of patients transfused are over the age of 65. The median age for blood transfusions is 69. Most adults receive two units.

To those with reservations about giving blood, Albert Fischer asks, "What if it was for your mom, or if your brother needed blood? How about a neighbor? What about mankind? Giving blood is the greatest feeling in the world."

To donate blood, please call:

Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566

Visit: www.nybloodcenter.org

To initiate a Golden Donors group in your area, please call:

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

Queens/Long Island Karen Muscolino 516-478-5038 Kmuscolino@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 almost 200 hospitals, serving 20 million people, 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
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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