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Larchmont Red Cross Club VP Helps With Blood Drive

John Dyer, Jackie Keller, Eli Russ and several other members of the Mamaroneck High School's American Red Cross Club gave their time Monday to help at the Columbia Engine and Hose Company's annual blood drive, which received 61 pints of blood from 55 total donors.

Dyer, who is vice president of the Red Cross Club, helped carry boxes, supplies and food up to the second floor of the N Barry Avenue firehouse, where the blood drive was held between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

"I helped sign people in, carried things in and helped wherever they needed me," said Dyer, who is also a part of the Town of Mamaroneck Fire Department's junior firefighter program.

When a potential donor first walks in, they sign in and are given an informational pamphlet to review before proceeding. If they choose to do so, they are taken back to the "History Area," where Red Cross volunteers check their medical history, temperature, blood pressure and iron level, which is required by the FDA. If everything checks out, they can donate.

Monday, 62 people signed up, but seven were deferred during that screening process, leaving 55 who were able to donate. The pint of blood taken from two of those 55 couldn't be used, resulting in 59 usable pints of blood.

During their examination, the Red Cross may suggest a donor use an Apheresis machine, which is also known as a double red cell machine because it allows a patient to donate two pints of blood by extracting the red blood cells and returning the plasma and platelets into the donor. The process takes one hour and 35 minutes and requires the donor to be O-Negative and at least 5'1" and 130 pounds if male, or 5'1" and 150 if female because women have less iron.

"It's actually a little bit of a different feeling," said Michael Horan, who has given blood using an Apheresis machine once before. "The initial prick and needle stick is all the same, but you can feel the difference, it's not horrible, but you can feel it."

You must wait 112 days between donating blood if using an Apheresis machine, compared to 56 days if you donate whole blood. Six donors used the Apheresis machine to give two pints each, and 47 gave one pint of whole blood.

Still, only four percent of Americans donate blood, Kane said.

Dyer pitched in where he could Monday, which will help him come October when his club hosts its own blood drive at the high school, also with the help of the American Red Cross.

Have you donated blood? Tell us why or why not by commenting below, on Facebook and Twitter .

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