Summertime is often a challenging time for blood collection, but even more so around the July 4 holiday. That’s why the Rhode Island Blood Center has designated the week of June 30 to July 6 as Rhode Island Blood Center Week, hopeful of encouraging individuals to donate blood before or after the holiday.
With the holiday falling on a Friday, it means many people will be taking long weekends, creating more challenges at a time when schools out for the summer and some businesses take the early part of July off for company-wide vacations.
Each day the Rhode Island Blood Center must collect up to 280 pints of blood to take care of the needs of hospitalized patients in our area.
“Blood needs never take a vacation,” says Frank Prosnitz, the Rhode Island Blood Center’s communications manager. “Summertime is beautiful in Rhode Island and southeastern New England, but for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of our family, friends and neighbors, their view of summer is a hospital room. They are depending upon the rest of us to make sure there’s a safe and adequate blood supply.
“Of most critical need is platelets,” Prosnitz says. “When someone donates a pint of blood, it is split into three components – platelets, plasma and red cells. Red cells have a shelf life of 42 days, plasma a year and platelets only five days.”
Individuals who donate during Rhode Island Blood Center week will get a special Rhode Island Blood Center bag and be entered into a raffle to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the July 17 Pawtucket Red Sox game, plus four tickets to the Pawsox barbeque tent for that game.
Rhode Island Blood Center facilities are located at 405 Promenade St., Providence; 688 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown; 14 Woodruff Ave., Narragansett; 615 Greenwich Ave., Warwick; 143 Franklin St., Westerly; and 2168 Diamond Hill Road, Woonsocket. Additionally, the Blood Center holds more than a dozen blood drives throughout the state daily. For hours at the donor centers and locations of blood drives, visit the Blood Center’s web site at www.ribc.org or call 1-800-283-8385.