BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater-New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS) is asking local residents to donate blood at Bridgewater Commons Mall, 400 Commons Way here, July 3 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The day-long drive will be held on a bus mobile parked by McCormick & Schmick's.

It will be a fun day with refreshments and each donor will receive a voucher for a pair of 2017 Mets tickets as a thank you. Team up and save three lives by giving blood as the red cells, plasma and platelets can each help a different patient. 

Blood donors are greatly needed now since donations tend to be lowest during the summer months as many travel on vacation. Also, donations from high schools and colleges, which account for 25 percent of regional blood collection, decrease when schools close for the summer.

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Qualified donors should be 16 years of age (with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds, however other height and weight restrictions apply. Blood donors must be in generally good health, present NYBC Donor Card or photo or signed ID, and eat and drink at regular meal times. Persons over 75 years of age can donate with a note from their physician.

Residents with type O-Negative blood are especially urged to donate. O-negative blood, known as the "universal donor" because the blood can be transfused into anyone, has been in short supply since the spring. It is found in just six percent of the population, and is often transfused to patients in emergency rooms and trauma situations.

Every day there are patients who depend on the transfusion of red blood cells, platelets and plasma to stay alive. But blood and blood products can’t be manufactured. They can only come from volunteer blood donors who take an hour to attend a blood drive or visit a donor center.

To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org