PLATTSBURGH - "[Donating blood] is something that is needed," said local blood donor Debbie Alphonso. "We all have blood, we all have something we can do to help someone in need."
The North Country Regional Blood Center, operated by CVPH Medical Center, saw an average amount of people donating blood this July, which was National Blood Donation Month. In fact, the center is having a pretty good year so far, said blood bank supervisor Jeanine Yanulavich.
"We get close to 700 donors a month and that's probably where we're at for July," Yanulavich said at the end of the month.
Even though the center is doing well, their number of donors has been slowly declining over the past few weeks.
"The summertime hits us hard ... we go to schools and colleges and they're closed during the summer so that diminishes our population of where we go for blood drives," Yanulavich stated. "We've had a couple of drives that weren't as successful."
With the number of donations slipping, the blood center is looking for more donors - especially people with Type A and O negative blood.
"O negative and A negative are very short in demand, we have a short supply of those," Yanulavich said.
Not only are the different blood types needed but different forms of donations are needed - full blood donation, the one people typically think of when donating blood, and platelet donations.
"Full blood donations are generally, from beginning to end counting paperwork and recovery time, takes about half an hour for everything," said Yanulavich. "The pheresis donation, the collection of platelets ... takes up to two hours usually, it is a long process but it's very crucial."
The pheresis donation is incredibly important as platelets are needed for oncology and open-heart patients.
It is also very important to try and donate as much as possible, said Yanulavich.
"You can donate red cells [full donation] every eight weeks and you can donate platelets every two weeks," stated Yanulavich, who added donating blood is free and effective in saving the lives of others.
"There are always people out there that need blood. It's the one thing, in this economy where it's hard to give money, this is free to give and it really does help," Yanulavich stated.
For more information, including how to donate blood, contact the blood center at 562-7406, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
James King is a student intern with the Upward Bound program at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.