BY AMANDA MOSES
The signs can be found every-where: blood shortage, donors needed. It is said that one pint of blood can save up to three lives, and according to the American Red Cross, the supply can’t always meet the demand. That is why it’s important for all eligible donors, repeating, and new, to take the time and help save lives.
On August 10th, members of the Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) community decided to do something meaningful during their summer break by donating blood to the New York Blood Center. Every year, the Starrett City Tenant Association (SCTA) hosts a blood drive that invites the community to do their part in helping others—SCT residents didn’t disappoint. There were 36 presenting donors at the SCTA Blood Drive (20 passed through the screening process to donate), and each person received a t-shirt with the New York Blood Center logo and the words, “Summer Blood 2019. Suck it up and donate.”
This year’s event took place at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue within the Spring Creek Shopping Center. There were a host of potential donors. Many of them have provided blood numerous times like Migdalia Soto, a kind soul who has made over 11 donations through-out her life. The reason for her frequent acts of kindness is simple: her father received a life-saving kidney transplant. Since that time, she has always donated blood. “I want to do anything to help, and hopefully when I get older I will get the same help,” Soto said. “I feel blessed to be alive and able to donate,” she said proudly.
Paying it forward one person at a time is one of the many reasons donors donate. Iza Cedeno has made about 15 donations of blood. “I have a rare blood type O-, so I want to make sure I can at least aid one person who really needs it,” she said while awaiting her screening check.
Prior to donating blood, attendees are given a digital questionnaire to see if the potential donor meets the criteria, such as reviewing any medications and checking the deferred list and other inquires. A technician then goes over the answers privately and then checks the potential donors’ blood pres-sure and takes a blood sample.
Phyllis Hall was not fazed by the screening because it was her fourth time donating blood. “I was told that my particular blood type is crucial for those who have cancer and need a blood transfusion,” Hall said.
For years, Walter Wilkerson has made it his purpose to donate blood at the SCTA Drive. Wilkerson usually brings his daughter with him every time, so that she under-stands the importance of donating. Although this year she was not able to attend, Wilkerson is hopeful that when she turns 18 years old, she will follow in his footsteps. His close friend suffered from a rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma, which is the motivating factor for his continued donations. “I want to be that person to help someone facing a similar situation as my friend,” he said.
Although there were many re-turning donors, Spring Creek Sun’s Amanda Moses made her first blood donation during the SCTA Blood Drive. For years, I’ve covered the event, but I have never been able to donate because my iron levels were always too low. This year I was able to donate. At first it felt similar to a doctor’s physical. The needle was a little bit bigger than the one used to retrieve a few vials while at the doctor’s office, but the process is just the same. The entire procedure took less than five minutes, and afterwards you feel a sense of purpose and pride, almost like you’ve offered a stranger an invisible helping hand.
Photos by Amanda Moses and Dean Moses