FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM FEBRUARY 18, 2021 • HEALTH • THE QUEENS COURIER 31
As supplies reach critically low levels, NYBC
and New York Mets expand fan blood drive
BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
Five weeks aft er their semi-annual
blood drive in January, the New York
Blood Center and the New York Met hosted
a second Mets Fan Blood Drive on
Th ursday, Feb. 11, at 10 locations across
Queens and Brooklyn.
Th e blood supply was already critically
low due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
but it took another hit because of
the recent snowstorms. Th e New York
Blood Bank’s supply has dropped to 1,500
units of blood, and the organization urges
New Yorkers to donate blood, especially
The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale
saw a moderate turnout of donors who
received a voucher for a pair of tickets
to see the Mets, a free limited-edition
fan T-shirt, and an entry into a sweepstake
for signed memorabilia.
Greg Bolanos from Forest Hills, who
donated for the second time, wanted
to do his part to help out and plans on
donating blood regularly.
“There is a need with the global pandemic.
I think if you can help people
out, why not?” he said.
Judith Rollhaus not only donated
blood for the 20th time, but also joined
Be The Match, a bone marrow registry.
“I think it is important to be there for
another and do what we can to take care
of each other,” she said.
Jair Thompson, the supervisor of
recruitment for the New York Blood
Center and whose organization Be
The Match has an office at the center,
explained that attending blood drives
is a way to find donors to join the bone
marrow registry, which currently only
has 22 million members nationwide.
He continued to explain that there is
a dire need for people to join the registry,
especially African Americans, who
make up only 4 percent of the network,
while Hispanics and Asians make up 10
percent and 5 percent, respectively.
“The need is more diversity. So when
we come to drives like this, it’s pretty
much people in the community from all
races we recruit,” he said. “The majority
of people who are on the registry
are European white. They make up 77
percent.So a white person will find a
transplant much quicker than someone
diverse. It is my job to come out to
locations, colleges, city agencies, everywhere
and try to get people to register.”
Currently, he’s working on a campaign
to fi nd a matching donor for a 20-yearold
patient with aplastic anemia.
“What happens ultimately is that he’ll
pass away if he can’t find a matching
donor,” Thompson said.
Joining the Be The Match registry is
quite simple. Using a QR code and her
cellphone, Judith Rollhaus created an
account with the network and answered
questions about her medical history.
She then swabbed her cheeks for a DNA
sample with swabs from a kit provided
by Be The Match.
If you are between the ages of 18 to 44
and want to save a life, you can join the
registry at www.bethematch.org.
The New York Blood Center urges
donors to make an appointment by
From Feb. 1 to Feb. 28, blood donors
also can get a free COVID-19 antibody
test at any of NYBC’s 18 fixed
donor centers and all mobile drives in
New York and New Jersey. The center
is also asking for convalescent plasma
donations from those who have recovered
from COVID-19 to increase the
Photos by Gabriele Holtermann