The New York Blood Center receives 75 percent of its blood donations from drives hosted by schools, organizations and businesses. As COVID-19 continues to spread, nearly all drives are being canceled, leaving the non-profit organization with a significant shortage in its blood supply.

Desperate for donations, the Blood Center has been calling its top donors, requesting they contribute in person at a donor center. The nearest donor centers are located in Elmsford and Hopewell Junction.

“They pretty much begged me to come in which I did,” said David Rocco, a Yorktown resident who has donated 23 gallons of blood in his lifetime. 

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Rocco’s rare A-negative blood type is always highly sought after, but especially so during the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely disrupted the operations of businesses, non-profit organizations, governments and schools.

“I don’t think people realize the impact of this,” Rocco said. “Right now, we need to help our people.”

The New York Blood Center is seeking to double its blood reserves to prevent shortages.

“Every donation at every blood drive is critical,” said Dr. Christopher D. Hillyer, president and CEO of New York Blood Center. “As healthy, eligible donors, we have a responsibility to our neighbors to keep the blood supply safe and robust. A resilient health care system is more important than ever and we’re counting on everyone to help maintain that.”

Donors can also make platelet or red blood cell donations, the latter of which Rocco did.

“I was told at the center that [my donation] was going to help seven people,” Rocco said.

According to the Blood Center’s website, about one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion and nearly 2,000 donations are needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone.

To learn more or to schedule a donation, visit nybloodcenter.org or call 800-933-2566.

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