At this time of year severe winter weather and seasonal illnesses like the flu can prevent regular donors from giving blood to the American Red Cross. Last Wednesday parishioners from St. Joseph-St, Lazarus Church joined forces with the American Red Cross to help maintain an adequate blood supply for patients.
Parishioner Jayne Biagiotti, a regular blood donor herself, came up with the idea knowing that the winter is when the blood supply starts to run low.
“After being a donor for quite a few years now, I thought it would be nice to have a drive and take myself to another level of helping out,” said Biagiotti. “I’m a parishioner of St. Joseph-St. Lazarus, and knew it would be a good place to hold a drive.”
Biagiotti said when she contacted the Red Cross the organization was very anxious and excited to hold a blood drive in East Boston .
“I was told they had no public drives going on in East Boston,” she said. “For me it’s important because donating blood is giving someone a second chance. By giving just a little bit of my time, I help give others the chance of a lifetime sometimes. Now more than ever we all need to reach out with all the shootings and natural disasters. That along with surgeries, accidents and cancer victims people are always in need of lifesaving blood. I read how Officer Donahue, shot in the marathon bombing, received 46 blood transfusions and this hit home to me and confirmed how important this simple act of giving is.”
Biagiotti said the drive was a success with 27 units collected.
“The drive went well,” she said. “While unfortunately we didn’t meet our goal of 30 like we did in October every unit of blood collected helps. The 27 units collected will help 81 local patients in need. I want to strive to make each drive more successful than the last.”
Biagiotti said the church hopes to partner with the Red Cross again in May for another blood drive.
“It’s not painful, it takes only a little time out of your day and the best of all the feeling of satisfaction that you are helping some one else is immeasurable,” she said.
The Red Cross said the next blood drive in the Boston area will be on Friday, Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Boston City Hall.
To donate blood, donors can simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App at redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started donors can follow the instructions at redcrossblood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
Red Cross Communications Manager Kelly Isenor said another way to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Isenor said volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position visit rdcrss.org/driver.