RAHWAY, NJ -- The local supply of blood and platelets, critical for emergency surgeries and cancer treatment, is dangerously low. To help replenish the supply, the FLAG of Rahway (Frontline Appreciation Group, the City of Rahway, Rahway Public Schools and RWJBarnabas Health are teaming up for a community blood and platelet drive to be held  April 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rahway Recreation Center in City Hall Plaza in Rahway.

The drive was spearheaded by Front Line Appreciation Group of Rahway’s Joanna Macaluso.

“I saw how hospitals were struggling to get blood and platelets to patients,” said Macaluso, a Rahway Board of Education member.  “I felt we needed to get everyone involved.”  

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The coronavirus pandemic canceled large blood drives, reducing supply.  “The blood supply has been strained and unpredictable since the onset of the pandemic but after an entire year of not having access to many of our donor groups, the situation has become quite dire,” said Sally Wells, Business Development Liaison, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Blood Services.

Rahway Mayor Ray Giacobbe has encouraged all city employees and residents to participate.  “I hope those who can donate will, and our community continues to support one another during times of need,” he said.  

While walk-ins can donate, appointments are strongly encouraged to enforce social distancing. The number for appointments is 732-235-8100, ext. 221 or on-line at rwjuhdonorclub.org. Anyone over the age of 17 can donate blood or platelets. Questions about medical eligibility for donation can be answered by calling 732-235-8100, ext. 221 or 248.

Blood collected during the drive will remain within the RWJBarnabas Health system including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. 

The RWJ Blood Center is taking all measures to ensure safety for donors including pre-screening upon entry, mandatory masking and physical distancing of stations, enhanced cleaning protocols. All donors receive refreshments at the bedside, a tee shirt and a chance to win a $50 gift card.  Platelet donors receive a $10 gift card.