On Tuesday, I visited the Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Brunswick to thank the corporate leadership and employees for living its Credo through the long standing commitment to supporting blood drives. These drives are critically important to maintaining a stable blood supply. Every pint of blood has the potential to save a life. [gallery columns="2" ids="5381,5382,5383,5384"]
Johnson & Johnson companies are continuing their long tradition of sponsoring National Blood Donation programs with a multitude of drives planned through the rest of the summer, when the need for blood becomes more pronounced. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson-hosted drives contributed 34,000 pints of blood and, from 2009 to 2012, 230,000 pints were donated – that’s 28,750 gallons.
The blood supply in the United States depends on hundreds of thousands of volunteer donors and every blood donation helps to ensure that blood is available when it is needed. One-in-seven patients entering a hospital will need blood, according to America’s Blood Centers. Hospitals need blood every day for trauma and cancer care, blood transfusions, organ transplants, heart surgeries and to treat hemophilia, anemia, sickle cell and other illnesses. Blood donations decrease in the summer when schools are on break and many of those who regularly give are on vacation, yet the need for blood remains the same. Hospitals often have less than a two day supply of blood on hand. One of the biggest challenges New Jersey faces is a persistent blood shortage. There is a significant need for blood from people of all races and ethnicities. Yet, the percentage of eligible donors in New Jersey who donate on a regular basis is well below the national average of 5%. Under the leadership of Governor Chris Christie, the Department of Health has been working to increase blood donations in New Jersey. Last year, we increased the units of blood collected in New Jersey by 11% and, with corporate sponsors like Johnson & Johnson – and your help -- we can improve upon our success. One other way we are encouraging blood donations is by celebrating New Jersey’s status as host of Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. We have partnered with the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee, New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition, the New York Blood Center and the American Red Cross Blood NY-Penn Region to create the “Super Community Blood Drive” campaign. Between now and January 17, 2014, a blood donation in New Jersey will not only help save a life, but also could win you tickets to the Super Bowl! You can read more about this sweepstakes and make an appointment to donate blood in New Jersey here: www.njsave3lives.com. On behalf of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and the Department of Health, I want to thank Johnson & Johnson for its efforts to increase blood donation. Remember one pint of blood can save three lives so please encourage your families, friends and co-workers to find the time to donate. For information on how to donate blood nationally, please visit http://www.redcross.org/
Mary E. O’Dowd has been serving as the New Jersey Health Commissioner since April 2011. As Commissioner, her priorities include protecting the public’s health, promoting healthy communities and continuing to improve the quality of health care in New Jersey. Commissioner O’Dowd is a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University, holds a Master in Public Health from Columbia University and completed a fellowship in hospital finance at NYU Medical Center. She currently serves on the board of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University.