Students help alleviate blood shortage caused by recent snow storms

Due to snow, blood runs scarce; students help through donations


Students help alleviate the blood shortage by donating blood on Tuesday at Taffner Field House. (Photo/ Christopher Brito)

The University is helping replenish the New York Blood Center’s blood supply which is low due to recent snowstorms.

Paul Ferrara, the Blood Center accounting manager assigned to St. John’s, said Tuesday there’s a low blood supply in New York because of snowstorms closing venues on days like Monday where blood drives were scheduled to be held.

It could elevate to an emergency issue if potential snowstorms scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday cause more blood drives to cancel and prevent people from donating.

“If it snows and schools are closed then there might be a problem with blood shortage,” Ferrara said. “If they close schools, that’s where it hurts.”

Bill Mardavich, donor relations associate, said these places where blood drives are happening often don’t reschedule if they cancel due to snow.

“We’re at their mercy when schools close,” Mardavich said.

Ferrera brought up staffing issues that come as a result of rebooking blood drives.

“Sometimes when we rebook, our staff may already be accounted for,” Ferrara said.

“It is very challenging because of the snow,” Ferrara said. “This time it’s important to donate because of the storms.”

Students responded to the blood supply problem by donating on Tuesday at Taffner Field House.

Freshman Bryan Cuartas, an actuarial science major, donated his red blood cells through the Alyx machine that collects double the amount of cells versus a whole blood donation.

“It feels good but I feel cold now,” Cuartas joked. His donation will save six people, according to Mardavich.

Kenneth Tompkins, a sophomore philosophy major, made it a priority to donate after his mother got a blood transfusion recently.

“It gives purpose to being poked and prickled,” he said. “You may not feel it right now but you see the fruits of the service later on.”

Both Ferrera and Mardavich emphasized one blood donation can save up to three lives. With your help, the New York City area can meet the daily transfusion needs of patients suffering from diseases such as cancer, surgery patients suffering from accidents, burns and more.

“People don’t understand the importance of donating,” Mardavich said. “It is not mass produced. The only way to make it is through donating. We’re only here to save lives.”

There will be blood drives on Feb. 10 and 24 at Taffner Field House.