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Need for blood donations still seen locally

PLATTSBURGH - The month of January marks the start of a new year. With it also being recognized as National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, it's also the opportunity to make your New Year's resolution to donate blood and save lives.

According to a fact sheet provided by AABB, formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks, one blood donation can save up to three lives. With 60 percent of the U.S. population being eligible to donate, and only five percent actually doing so, this leaves a constant need for donations.

"We've had some really tough months," said Jennifer Matt, blood bank supervisor for the North Country Regional Blood Center. "October and November were really tight for us. We just did not have the excess."

Matt added the holiday season has been difficult as people are busy and don't donate as often.

Another important reason for people to donate said Matt is due to the expansion of the heart program at CVPH Medical Center and the expansion of other nearby hospitals including those in Canton, Potsdam, Elizabethtown, Malone, Massena and Saranac Lake.

"For us to just keep the status quo is just not enough," she said.

To promote blood donations, the staff at the blood center is preparing for their annual T-shirt drive, in which during the month of January, anyone who donates will receive a free T-shirt.

"There's some donors that just religiously donate in January, because they want that T-shirt," said Matt.

Because of this, things will be done a little different this year, Matt added. Two T-shirt designs were chosen and, as always, one will be available during the T-shirt drive in January with the other being unveiled in either April or May.

"To try and get those people who've only donated once, [to] come back and return. Because that's the key," Matt said.

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