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Blood drive scheduled for Suffolk

Suffolk is providing an easy way to give back to those fighting for their lives.

The East Suffolk Recreation Center is hosting a community blood drive with the American Red Cross from 1 to 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. Sixth St.

According to the Red Cross, donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with O negative, A negative and B negative. Those who donate in February will receive a $5 Amazon gift card as a thank you.

All donations will also be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Those who have survived COVID-19 are encouraged to donate plasma to help those who are fighting it now.

“Last month, the Red Cross distributed the greatest number of convalescent plasma products than any other month during the pandemic,” said Silver Nelson, the account representative with the Mid-Atlantic American Red Cross Blood Services. “With hospital distributions for this product increasing about 250% since October, we’re asking those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood or plasma and roll up a sleeve to help. It’s important that COVID-19 patients have access to all treatment options available to help them recover, which includes much-needed convalescent plasma.”

The need for blood is constant, even when not in a pandemic. Statistics show that someone needs blood in the United States every two seconds. There are no synthetic alternatives. Volunteer blood donors are the only source of blood for those in need.

“The East Suffolk Recreation Center is committed to strengthening our community and helping meet hospital and patient needs through blood donations,” said Jason Jones, the recreation supervisor at East Suffolk Recreation Center. “This blood drive is our way of giving staff, colleagues and neighbors an opportunity to help save lives. We urge community members to donate blood and help ensure that patients in local hospitals have a supply of blood ready and waiting before an emergency occurs. There’s no better feeling than knowing that your blood donation may give someone a second chance at life.”

For more information, or to make an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or sign up online at redcrossblood.org with sponsor code ESRC. The East Suffolk Recreation Center can be reached by calling 514-4500.