HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. The Hastings Public Library wasnt just loaning out books Wednesday; it was giving life. The library held a blood drive in partnership with the New York Blood Center and collected lifesaving resources from dozens of local residents.
Sue Feir, director of the library, started the blood drive in 2006 after her husband passed away following a battle with cancer.
It just struck home how important blood drives are, Feir said. People always assume it will be there and blood will be available. This time of year, people are distracted or on vacation, so its hard to get people to come in and donate.
Feir said the relaxed atmosphere of the library, along with the friendly staff from the blood center, keeps people coming back to donate. The NYBS was founded in 1964 and is one of the largest community-based, nonprofit, independent blood centers in the nation, according to the centers website. More than 4.5 million people in the United States, including cancer patients, accident victims and babies, benefit from blood transfusions every year, the website says.
Its a happy medical event, Feir said. You go to the hospital and its full of sick people; this has the same attention to medical care, but its a happy event.
To help keep up with the overwhelming demand, Feir said, the library hosts three blood drives - in March, August and November, every year; typically, 30 to 50 people donate.
So many people cant give blood, Feir said. Of those who can give, less than ten percent do.
Feir said people are reluctant to donate blood because of fear of needles, scheduling conflicts or a lack of knowledge about how to do so. She said she attempted to create awareness for the event by posting signs in public buildings, sending a village-wide email and advertising in various publications.
Feir said people who are nervous about donating only need to know one secret to ensure a smooth donation process:
If you tell the staff its your first time, youll get treated like youre in a spa, she said.
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