Giving Back

Berkeley Heights YMCA Holds Blood Drive with American Red Cross

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Senior Manager of the Red Cross in Philadelphia Nancy Blackledge with donor Carl Scialfa Credits: Jason Cohen
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Blood Collection Support Staff Driver Tyrese Chamberlain  processing the blood Credits: Jason Cohen
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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Statistics show that every two seconds, someone in the country needs blood. That means more than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day. On Sunday, Jan. 20, the Berkeley Heights YMCA held a blood drive with the American Red Cross to help address that need.

Senior Manager of the Red Cross in Philadelphia Nancy Blackledge said 22 people gave blood, exceeding the goal of 20 donors. Blackledge, a Texas native, has been with the organization for six months and has really enjoyed her time. Although she is typically in the office, she said she enjoys participating in the blood drives.

“It’s a good way to give back to the community and help out others at the same time,” Blackledge said. “It’s the cheapest gift you can ever give to somebody.”

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After several years as a truck driver, Tyrese Chamberlain was looking for a new position and a year ago he joined the Red Cross as a Blood Collection Support Staff Driver. He packs and transports the blood and sets up and takes down every blood drive.

He took a two-week training course ro learn about the Red Cross and was instructed on how to process and pack the blood. However, Chamberlain had never been to a blood drive and was kind of scared to donate.

“My first thought was people are really generous,” he said.

Berkeley Heights resident Lynn Falanga has been giving blood since she was in college and as a nurse she knows the importance of donating.

“I donate because I always like to think that the blood supply is safe and adequate,” Falanga said.  “I want to have blood if I ever needed it.”

Carl Scialfa, who lives in Berkeley Heights is a regular donor and said the Red Cross always does an excellent job at the blood drives. Because he has a universal blood type, he tries to give as often as possible.

“They say that blood is a gift of life,” Scialfa said.

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