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Ithaca YMCA aims to make summer blood drive the biggest ever by challenging residents to give blood and help prevent a summer shortage

ITHACA, N.Y. (July 9, 2015) — The YMCA of Ithaca and Tompkins County has been helping patients in need during the summer months by hosting an American Red Cross “Communities That Care” blood drive, but this summer it’s extra special. The YMCA is challenging residents and families in Ithaca and surrounding areas to make the third annual “Communities That Care” blood drive the largest blood drive in Tompkins County. Eligible donors are urged to give the gift of life on Tuesday, July 21 from 11:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m. at the YMCA at 50 Graham Road in Ithaca.

“We believe in the power of this collaboration of Red Cross, CFCU and the Y to have a positive powerful impact on our community,” said Frank Towner, Director of YMCA of Ithaca and Tompkins County. “And… this will be the largest blood drive in Tompkins County!”

There are many dedicated Red Cross blood donors in the Ithaca area, like Tom McCarthy of Ithaca, who continue to give hospital patients hope through the simple act of giving blood. Tom regularly schedules appointments to give blood and he has been doing so for over 60 years. He first rolled up a sleeve to donate in 1948, following a football injury in high school when he required blood transfusions, and ever since then he has been giving back. Tom has donated nearly 30 gallons to date.

“I enjoy giving blood. I am trying to get to 30 gallons. I am one pint away,” said Tom McCarthy. “I had a blood clot earlier this year and I have to wait a while before I can give again, and I can’t wait until I can get back in the chair to help others by giving blood with the Red Cross.”

All presenting donors at the July 21 blood drive co-sponsored by the CFCU will receive a free Red Cross t-shirt and a free YMCA day pass.* A “Community That Cares” blood drive is a Red Cross initiative to engage local citizens and boost regional blood supplies by enlisting community support.

Blood donors are needed now to help prevent a summer shortage in donations. It’s often difficult to collect enough lifesaving blood products for hospital patients in the summer, because high schools and colleges are out of session, and donors get busy with vacations and summer activities. During the months of June, July and August, on average, about two fewer donors schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need. This can add up to more than 100,000 fewer donations during the summer.

Donors of all blood types, especially O negative, A negative and B negative, and platelet donors are needed to help ensure a stable blood supply throughout the summer. Hospital patients don’t get a vacation from needing transfusions. The only source of blood is a healthy, volunteer blood donor.

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.