PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
January 14, 2014

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Service men and women from the New Jersey National Guard donate blood at the
"Salute to the Troops," 4th and Goal Super Community Blood Drive at the
Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.

200 Service Men & Woman Donated Blood at 4th & Goal Blood Drive

 Lt. Governor Guadagno, Health Commissioner O'Dowd, Brig. Gen. Cunniff
Salute Troops At Sun National Bank in Trenton

Approximately 200 service men and women from the New Jersey National Guard donated blood today at the 4th and Goal Blood Drive held today at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd, Brigadier General Michael Cunniff, the Adjutant General, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Kevin Rigby, Vice President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation participated in a "Salute to the Troops" during the blood drive, which continues until 4 pm today.

"Our troops help protect us each and every day of the year, and having them on hand to support New Jersey residents in need of blood is just another example of their selfless work on behalf of our state and our nation," said Lt. Governor Guadagno. 

Commissioner O'Dowd said today's blood drive comes at a critical time: "January is National Blood Donor Month and we face a critical blood shortage because of the extreme cold temperatures earlier this month, flu activity and the fact that blood supply is always low after the holidays."

Brigadier General Michael Cunniff, who addressed the troops under his command, commended them for their ongoing relief work and their community support.  "More than 2,300 troops were activated during Super Storm Sandy for relief efforts.  Their contribution to this blood drive is just one additional way they work to support the residents of the state."

The blood drive was the final event in an eight-month Super Community Blood Drive campaign leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, February 2.  More than 160,000 units of blood were collected during the campaign. Increasing blood donations is one of the charitable causes selected by the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee.   The Committee teamed up with the Department of Health, the New Jersey Workplace Donor Coalition and Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation which is sponsoring the drive.

"Today's program provided an excellent opportunity to recognize the contributions of the New Jersey National Guard while highlighting the need for blood donation.  Supporting blood donation gives all of us with an opportunity to serve the communities where we live and work," said Kevin Rigby, Vice President of Public Affairs and US Country Head of Public Affairs for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

Everyone who donated blood as part of the Super Community Blood Drive Campaign will be entered into a raffle to win two pairs of tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII.  The tickets will be awarded on January 24 as part of the campaign.

Giving blood takes less than an hour, one pint of blood from a single donor can save three lives.  Most people age 16 and older who are in good health and weigh at least 110 pound are eligible to donate.  For more on blood donation and the Super Community Blood Drive, please visit: http://www.state.nj.us/health/njsave3lives/