Celebrating World Blood Donor Day

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WASHINGTON, DC—This week, the world celebrated individuals who donate blood and thus save the lives of thousands every year. Along with the celebration comes the reminder that, as summer nears, blood donations often take a tumble with vacations and other summer activities overtaking the nation’s attention.

One pint of blood can save up to three lives—the impact a single visit to a donation center can have is remarkable,” said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), the chairman of the House panel that oversees global health initiatives.  “The demand for donated blood never diminishes.”

Smith noted that the U.S. uses millions of units of blood every year, with donated units rarely lasting two weeks before reaching their end user. He said with people on travel, there is typically a lull of donations during the summer months which puts hospitals and emergency medical programs at a disadvantage.

     The ongoing need, combined with the maximum storage time of only 35 days, creates a ‘perfect storm’ for the summer when there is often lower donations and dwindling supply,” Smith said.  In these summer months we must do more to ensure a healthy and viable supply of blood.”

The need for blood never takes a holiday,” said Michael Leviton, Director of Donor Relations at Central Jersey Blood Center. “People in car accidents, those with cancer and even our smallest premature infants all need blood products on a daily basis. It takes two days to test the blood which means we need an adequate blood supply before tragedy strikes. Give the greatest gift, the gift of life.”

Last month, Smith met with Pascal George, the CEO at the Central Jersey Blood Center, and Leviton at their Howell location. There they discussed new and innovative methods to increase the number of donors and the lives of those who have been saved by blood donation.

It was refreshing to interact with a Representative who shows such great interest in what is in essence a public good: the nation’s blood supply,” said George.

Blood donation facilities—such as the CJBC center in Howell—are a great resource to our community. The work that they do has a positive impact all of us,” said Smith.

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