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Blood Drive

As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, the need for blood donations has hit a crisis level due to the lack of donors.  To help assist the New York Blood Center (NYBC) increase their blood supply, Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District) is sponsoring a blood drive on Sunday, February 14, at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove.  This donation drive will take place from noon to 6 p.m. in the mall’s Center Court.

With nearly 2,000 donations needed every day in New York and New Jersey alone, the current shortage has the potential to have a real effect on those who need blood transfusions.  Every single donation can save up to three lives.

Those most in need of blood include cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, newborn babies as well as mothers delivering babies, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, and many more.

Potential donors are required to meet certain criteria including:
• Bring NYBC Blood Donor Card or ID with signature or photo.
• Minimum weight 110 lbs. or more.
• Eligible ages are 16 to 75.  Anyone donating who is 16 years old must have parental permission and anyone who is age 76 and over is required to supply a doctor’s note.
• No tattoos for past 3 months

All donors will receive a New York Blood Center t-shirt and a coupon for Auntie Annie’s pretzels.  Additionally, the NYBC will be doing free COVID anti-body testing for anyone who participates in the blood drive with results being provided via mail.

The entire donation process takes less than an hour and appointments are recommended to ensure minimal waiting time.  To schedule an appointment or for more information, residents should visit Senator Mattera’s website at mattera.nysenate.gov and click on the link on the home page or call the NYBC at 800-933-2566.

Donors with O-negative blood type, or “universal donors,” are especially encouraged to donate, as their blood is essential in emergency situations.  Any potential donor with questions concerning medical eligibility is asked to call 1-800-688-0900.  It is recommended that those donating eat well and drink plenty of fluids prior to their appointment.

“The ongoing crisis is causing a very real and extremely serious shortage of blood supply and it is my hope that all residents who are eligible to donate will join us on Valentine’s Day to show some heart for their fellow Long Islanders.  Each donation has potential to save three lives and all donors will be a Valentine’s Day hero to everyone in our community in need of life saving assistance,” stated Senator Mattera.

Residents are urged to visit Senator Mattera’s website at mattera.nysenate.gov for more information and to make an appointment.

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Harborfields Public Library, 31 Broadway, Greenlawn holds an emergency blood drive on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 1 to 7 p.m. Blood supplies in the area are very low.
Book your appointment with the New York Blood Center:
Walk-ins may be taken if social distancing allows.
If you have questions about your medical eligibility, call Long Island Blood Services at 1-800-688-0900.
Call the library at 631-757-4200 for more information.

Members of the Sound Beach Fire Department, like Captain Greg Ferraro, give blood in memory of one of their own. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Almost five years after his death, an ex-captain of the Sound Beach Fire Department’s memory is still helping to save others. 

Jim Ford passed away on June 2016 after serving in the department for more than two decades. A beloved member of not only the department, but also within the Sound Beach community, Ford always was there to help. His wife, Nancy, still participates and volunteers with the auxiliary.

“Jim filled many shoes out of the office and in the office,” said Bill Rosasco, first assistant chief. “He loved it. He loved doing it. He loved being here at the firehouse.”

On top of his many roles, he founded and ran the department’s January blood drive, so it was only fitting to name it after him in 2018 — the first drive after his passing.

And on Saturday, Jan. 16, his memory was brought back at the firehouse at 152 Sound Beach Blvd., getting people together for something good. 

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, blood donations have been at an all-time low, according to the New York Blood Center. Schools, businesses and community centers halted blood drives early on, in fear of too many gatherings and the uneasiness of the virus. 

Sound Beach Fire Departmen’ts ex-captain, Jim Ford, who passed away nearly five years ago, is still making an impact at the fire house with an annual blood drive in his name. Photo from Stefanie Handshaw

The Sound Beach Fire Department usually hosts two blood drives in honor of their own. January is dedicated to Ford, while July memorializes Ex-Capt. John Drews Jr. But because of the pandemic, the July drive was canceled. 

The drive this past weekend was the first since the pandemic began.

“We wanted to still run this blood drive,” said Chief Darran Handshaw. “Even though we shut the department down for all the other meetings, we still wanted to do this because we know how important it is.”

Handshaw said that everyone on the board wanted to make sure the January drive went on, despite the department shutdown. 

“This is an emergency,” he added. “We need to get blood out there.”

He said that to make this month’s blood drive work, they took precautions including temperature monitoring, social distancing and a fogger machine that can decontaminate the room before the event and after. 

But the drive wouldn’t be happening without Ford’s spirit. 

“This would be something that Captain Ford would be here helping out with, even during [the pandemic],” Handshaw said. “It’s an honorable effort for an honorable man, so we’re going to do something honorable that serves the community for him and his death.”

Saturday’s event had more than 20 appointments, a dozen walk-ins and 31 pints of blood were collected, according to Margaret DeTurris, president of the department. Each pint of blood can help up to three people — so these 31 pints will impact 93 lives. 

“Jim was a great example  of wisdom and honor,” Handshaw said. “In my eyes, that inspired a lot of us to behave well and do the right thing for the community. He’s missed every day.” 

The Sound Beach Fire Department is actively seeking volunteers to serve as firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The department provides free training for those positions. To join contact the chief’s office at 631-744-2294.

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The Greenlawn Fire Department, 23 Boulevard Avenue, Greenlawn hosts its first blood drive of the year on Monday, Jan. 4 in the Meeting Room from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Blood Donors are essential. The public health crisis and events across the county will continue to impact the blood supply. If you’re healthy and able to visit a donor center or blood drive, we are urging you to make an immediate appointment to help keep the blood supply strong.

Appointments are required – no walk-ins will be permitted.


Questions? Call 631-261-9103.