The Roselle Park First Aid Squad (RPFAS) will be hosting a blood drive on Friday, July 18th from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. which is sponsored by the New York Blood Center (NYBC).
NYBC covers Northern New Jersey.
Roselle Park High School (RPHS) Senior Gurkatvir Nahl – or ‘Gurk’ as she prefers to be called – is coordinating this drive, as she has for the past two years while at RPHS.
“The summertime is the worst time for donations,” Gurk said, wanting to bring attention to the importance of donating blood, “It’s the lowest count for blood banks because the main source that they get blood from are high school and colleges which are closed during the summer break.”
With a goal of having the community donate 30 units of blood, Gurk thinks it is possible, having already exceeded her personal goal this year by coordinating the collection of 137 units of blood.
A unit of blood, which is just under one pint. That pint can help save as many as three people’s lives.
And that is what keeps Gurk focused. Talking about her motivation, she stated, “I got into blood drives because they help others get a new life. I had some people in my family who needed blood but unfortunately they couldn’t get it because of where they lived. I can at least help someone.”
Blood donation is made up of four steps: medical history, quick physical, donation, and snacks. The actual blood donation usually takes less than 10 minutes.
As for her inspiration, Gurk said, “My inspiration is my mom. She is that person that believed doing good brings good back to yourself. She makes me a better person. All she does is support me and that goes a long way.”
One unit of blood can be separated into several components (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitate). Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissue. Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live. Donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection. Donated platelets must be used within five days of collection. Plasma can be frozen and used for up to a year.
Even though the work to coordinate and plan a blood drive is hard, Gurk knows that, for her, it is worth it. She commented, “It’s the event and the people that make it all happy and that this is great way to give back to the community. It’s great to know that the people of Roselle Park will come out as a community and support this drive.”
Walk-ins for the drive on July 18th are welcomed but anyone wanting to make an appointment or needing more information can visit their web site (link), call (800) 933-2566, or by reaching out to Gurk on her Facebook page (link). RPFAS is located at 535 Laurel Avenue.