RARITAN TWP., NJ – Probably everyone has driven past a “Blood Drive” sign in the community, yet only a small number actually give blood on a regular basis. The reasons to not donate vary, and include fear of pain, discomfort, or that it will take too much time.

While those fears are valid, they are not necessarily true.

Blood is constantly in high demand everywhere in the U.S. This year, patients at Hunterdon Medical Center will use more than 2,000 units of blood and blood products.

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Many people do not realize how important it is to donate blood unless they or a loved one is in need. Yet there is no substitute for blood. It is needed for patients of all ages, for all kinds of injuries and ailments. Human blood cannot be substituted, and the need for it may arise at any time. These reasons - and others - are why it is so important for there to be a constant supply of blood.

“Within a community as tight-knit and small as ours, this need can become even more vital,” said Hunterdon Medical Center Blood Donor Recruiter Cathy Conroy. “A single blood donation can save up to three lives, and in a place like Hunterdon County, this is no small feat.”

Dennis Brass of Baptistown has been a donor since 1973, donating more than 23 gallons of red blood cells. Brass donates both platelets and red blood cells via the apheresis instrument.

Platelets are most often used by cancer patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries while red blood cells are used for those needing transfusions as part of their care.

“Dennis is a very loyal and dedicated blood donor for HMC,” Conroy said. “He's always willing to donate whenever he is eligible. It isn’t every day you can save someone’s life. Donating regularly, like Dennis, can help us to ensure that we are never short on blood.”

To be eligible to donate blood a person must be at least 17 years of age, be in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. The Hunterdon Medical Center Blood Bank is located on the Third Floor of Hunterdon Medical Center. The Blood Bank is open Monday throuigh Thursday 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 908-788–6405. To learn more, visit hunterdonhealthcare.org.