The Kiryas Joel Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (also known as KJ Hatzoloh) concluded a successful blood drive this weekend in order to help replenish the supply of blood during this national crisis.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, blood donations have generally stopped, causing the greatest blood shortage at blood banks in many decades. When word of the shortage became known, the Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel answered the call with 130 people participating in the Memorial Day weekend event.
“We were proud to lead the effort to benefit people from our region and well beyond,” said Barry Schoenbrun, blood drive organizer and member of the Kiryas Joel EMS. “Today’s donations will be shared in a pool that is accessible to every hospital and every patient.”
What made today’s event even more special was that in addition to giving a unit of blood, each blood donor was also giving a unit of convalescent plasma which can be used in hospitals to treat patients suffering from Covid-19.
The blood and plasma drive was held in Montvale, N.J., conducted by the Pennsylvania-based Miller–Keystone Blood Center.
“We are privileged to be the conduit through which these precious gifts can be collected and distributed,” said Dr. Kip Kuttner, the medical director at Miller- Keystone.
“The lives that may be spared are simply immeasurable,” added Quiana Cressman, Miller-Keystone’s executive director for Donor Operations.
During the past six weeks, more than a dozen volunteers from Kiryas Joel have worked day and night to make this project happen and only with their determination were they able to make it a reality.
“Each of the donors has recovered from the Coronavirus and is doing their small part to help others recover as well,” said Mordy Serle of the Covid Plasma Initiative. “The Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish community has led the way in plasma donations, with people often traveling hundreds of miles to centers in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and New Brunswick, New Jersey."
Hundreds of Kiryas Joel residents have donated convalescent plasma over the past few weeks. For more information, contact the Covid Plasma Initiative at 828-4PLASMA or online at www.covidplasmasavealife.com.