West Essex YMCA Drive Nets 15 Pints of Life-Saving Blood

By: Mollie Shauger | Monday, April 13, 2020 | Social Responsibility

Katie McDonald, a West Essex YMCA summer camp counselor at Pioneer Trails Day Camp, and a Livingston High School senior, gives blood on April 9.

LIVINGSTON, NJ - The West Essex YMCA collected 15 pints of blood during a blood drive in partnership with Vitalant on Thursday, April 9 in the Y’s gymnasium. That amount of blood is enough to save approximately 45 lives.

The Y has joined a slew of Ys across the country that are helping to address an urgent, ongoing need for blood donations. Twenty-four people signed up to give blood on April 9 at a time when organizations and donation centers like the American Red Cross and Vitalant are dealing with cancellations of drives amid the coronavirus crisis. 

“We are extremely grateful for our members and donors who are supporting this life-saving cause,” said Cheryl Tuturice, Executive Director of the West Essex YMCA. “Even while the Y’s facilities are closed, our hearts are open. We continue to meet essential needs and impact lives in the community during this health crisis.”

Four other Y branches with the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges have also planned blood drives. Upcoming drives include:

  • South Mountain YMCA, 10 West Parker Ave., Maplewood
    • Wednesday, April 22
    • 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
  • Sussex County YMCA, 15 Wits End Rd., Hardyston
    • Wednesday, May 6
    • 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Fairview Lake YMCA Camps
    • Monday, May 11
    • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Wayne YMCA, 1 Pike Dr., Wayne
    • Wednesday, May 13
    • 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

To schedule an appointment for drives at South Mountain or Wayne YMCAs, or see eligibility requirements to donate, visit redrossblood.org. Appointments are required.

To make an appointment for Fairview Lake or Sussex County YCMA’s drive, visit Vitalant.org 

All blood types are needed. The YMCA and partners are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of donors and volunteers, including temperature checks upon entrance, adhering to social distancing guidelines throughout the donation process, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and medical supplies. The Red Cross also requires that donors schedule appointments to give blood.

Donors participating in either Red Cross or Vitalant drives are also required to wear face masks or coverings when they donate. 

Red Cross also offers a RapidPass option to donors, in which they can complete their pre-reading and health history questions online to help reduce the time they spend at blood drives by up to 15 minutes. Visit https://www.redcrossblood.org.

Learn more about how the Red Cross is make donating safe at redcross.org. Read about Vitalant's safety measures here: www.vitalant.org/COVID-FAQs.

“If you’re healthy, you’re needed now more than ever. We cannot let it get to the point where there’s no blood available for trauma patients, those undergoing cancer treatment and patients who need regular, ongoing blood transfusions just to survive,” said said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant’s chief medical and scientific officer. 

“The Red Cross encourages individuals to keep scheduled blood donation appointments when possible and to make new blood donation appointments for the weeks and months ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Thank you to all blood donors and blood drive hosts who are helping and to all who will be.”


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