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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 06, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Nathan Rudy
(609) 984-7160


 
Governor Jon S. Corzine Launches First Statewide Blood Donation Campaign: “Save 3 Lives…All in a Day’s Work”


 

New Jersey Calls on Major Corporations to Conduct Workplace Drives

To Prevent a Blood Shortage

 

[Trenton, NJ] Governor Jon S. Corzine called on New Jersey’s top employers today to join the state government in an ongoing effort to increase blood donations and avert future shortages. The effort, known as the "Save 3 Lives….All in a Day’s Work" campaign, is the first unified effort between the state and its blood centers to reach employees of state government and major corporations through the workplace.

 

"New Jersey's residents are among the most generous in the nation, and are always ready to donate blood whenever a major disaster occurs," said Governor Corzine.  "New Jersey, however, consistently faces blood shortages, which can cause major problems for people in need of medical care so we need more regular blood donors to avoid any tragedies."

 

Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D., issued Governor Corzine's call at a government-wide state employee blood drive at Trenton's Sovereign Bank Arena sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).  All eight New Jersey blood banks will be collecting blood today, and state employees are encouraged to attend and donate.  Walk-ins by non-employees will also be accepted.

 

New Jersey faces a chronic blood shortage.  In 2005, the State used 74,000 more units of blood than it collected. New Jersey could rely on blood from other states. However, these states are now experiencing shortages of their own and New Jersey must improve its own blood donation programs to fill the gap.

 

Currently, only 2.5 percent of the State’s residents give blood on a regular basis compared to the national average of 5 percent. The Governor’s goal is to raise the rate of regular blood donations to the level of the national average.  The campaign reflects the fact that each additional pint of blood collected through this employer-focused program can save as many as three lives.

 

To this end, Governor Corzine sent letters to the chief executive officers of 250 of New Jersey's top companies asking them to participate in the "Save 3 Lives….All in a Day’s Work" campaign and make blood drives a regular part of their corporate social responsibility agendas.  Most people say they do not give blood because it is not convenient, they are not aware of the need, or no one asked them. Workplace campaigns make it convenient to donate and also provide the opportunity to inform employees about the need for blood and to urge everyone to participate.

 

"The state government is a major employer in New Jersey, and today we are taking the lead in making blood donation more convenient and available for our employees," said Governor Corzine.  "I'm calling on New Jersey's other leading employers to follow suit by either instituting or expanding blood donations in the workplace.  Together we can save lives by ending the chronic blood supply shortage facing our great state."  

 

The campaign is asking employers to conduct at least two blood drives a year and to increase their company's percentage of regular employee donors. For companies that already hold blood drives, the Governor is asking them to double the number of participants. For companies instituting their first campaign, the Governor is asking for 8 to 10 percent of eligible employees to participate.

 

"Corporate blood donation campaigns are often the most efficient, most successful we've seen in New Jersey," said DHSS Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.  "It's important to expand these efforts as each additional pint of blood collected through this employer-focused program will save as many as three lives."

 

To boost corporate participation, the state is issuing the PowerPints Challenge to give awards to those companies that mount the most effective, dynamic, and creative campaigns. This challenge builds on employees’ pride in their companies and their contribution to the community. The governor will personally recognize outstanding corporate efforts at an awards ceremony and dinner in June.

 

Representatives from New Jersey's eight blood centers will call on leading corporations to deliver a packet of information on the PowerPints Challenge and educational materials for use in the campaign, including: posters; fact sheets; newsletter articles; and a how-to guide for companies seeking to implement a blood donation campaign. The representatives will discuss what the company can do to help reach the "Save 3 Lives….All in a Day’s Work" campaign goal, and be available for consultations in the future.

 

New Jersey also created a special Web page, www.NJsave3lives.com, to house digital versions of campaign materials and track the campaign’s progress. The PowerPints Challenge will run from January through May 2007.

 

Blood Donation

Blood is in constant demand for treatment of injuries, cancer, and hemophilia and for use during surgery. Nine out of 10 people will need a blood transfusion at some time in their lives.

 

Giving blood is a simple and safe procedure. The entire process from registration through donation takes about an hour. The donation itself takes only 10 minutes. Trained technicians oversee and monitor the blood donation process. Most people who are in good health, are at least 17 years old or older, and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate. Some people with certain health conditions or taking certain medications are not permitted to donate blood, but these exceptions are few.

 

Some ethnic groups have a greater need for a particular blood type than others. For example, about 25 percent of Asians and 18 percent of African Americans have type B positive blood, but only nine percent of Caucasians and Hispanics have this blood type. In addition, some African-Americans have rare blood types like U-Negative or Duffy Negative, which are rarely found in other ethnic groups. As New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation, officials are putting a special focus on encouraging donations from all ethnic groups to ensure an adequate blood supply for their needs.

 

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