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Clara Maass to Hold Blood Drive

Donors needed for Monday blood drive to ease critical blood shortage.

Clara Maass Medical Center and the American Red Cross will host a blood drive on Monday, July 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Greifinger Lecture Hall at the Medical Center located at 1 Clara Maass Dr., Belleville.

The American Red Cross and the Community Blood Council of New Jersey say blood supplies are at critical lows this summer. In fact, blood supplies in June nationwide already are 50,000 pints less than they were this time last year, Red Cross officials said.

Anyone 17 years old or older, who weighs at least 110 pounds and who is in generally good health may be eligible to donate.

High school students may have to meet certain height and weight requirements. For a full list of eligibility requirements for donors, visit www.redcrossblood.org. All blood types are needed, officials said.

On the day of donation the donor should bring picture identification, remember to eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids before donating, Clara Maass officials said.

To make an appointment, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation-sponsor and enter: Sponsor Code: 02210161

For more information, contact Jeanette Fernandez, the Blood Bank supervisor, Clara Maass Medical Center, at 973-450-2722.

"There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren't readily available," Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross, said on the organization's website. "In a worst case scenario, a physician may have to forego performing a more serious procedure for a patient because of a shortage of blood. We need to do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t get to that point."

Red Cross officials said that donations may be low right now because early summer weather may mean people are also starting their summer activities early, so not taking the time to donate blood.

The fact that the Fourth of July hoiday is in the middle of the week this year may mean companies are giving employees extended holidays, and therefore not having as many blood drives, Red Cross officials said.

The Red Cross typically collects more than 17,000 pints of blood each day, the organization reported, and each pint is usually able to save more than one person.

 Clara Maass Medical Center is a Barnabas Health facility.

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