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URMC Launches Monthly Blood Drive in Dedicated Donor Room

Friday, November 21, 2008

Donors turn out in full force for the first monthly blood drive.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, when the spirit of giving and gratitude is downright palpable, URMC’s Strong Memorial Hospital will become the only Rochester-area hospital to dedicate space to a permanent monthly Red Cross blood drive. Open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, for its first half-day collection – and henceforth, the same hours the third Friday of every month – the new blood donor room is accessible to the entire community, accepting both walk-ins and pre-scheduled appointments.

The standing drive marks added efforts to nourish the community blood supply, which is desperately needed by patients healing from automobile accidents or organ transplants, fighting cancer, or living with sickle cell anemia. The rest of the month, when the room isn’t servicing the Red Cross collections, it facilitates autologous donations – instances when patients save their own blood to later tap for an upcoming procedure. “In the past few years, our blood drives have been so successful, we partnered with the local Red Cross to commit to a recurring monthly collection,” said Louise Criticos, who directs URMC’s volunteer organization, Friends of Strong, and also coordinates Red Cross efforts at the hospital. “Our intent isn’t to siphon donations that we count on from our existing Medical Center drives, but rather, to offer flexibility to our steady donors, should they miss an opportunity to give. We also hope to attract hospital visitors, and even Rochesterians who simply want to end their week on a generous note.”

The room also caters to tentative first-timers, who could be convinced to try giving in the more private setting. “This is a perfect way for them to get their feet wet,” Criticos said. “Our hopes are that afterward they then ‘graduate’ to one of our larger Medical Center drives.”

Organizers hope to collect about 20 pints per day in the new donor room, or more than 360 pints over the course of a year. URMC collected more than 2,600 pints in the past year, through a combination of holding 10 on-site drives (five one-day drives in its medical research building, and five three-day drives in its hospital cafeteria), along with various other Red Cross collections stationed at Visiting Nurse Service, Highland Hospital, and a URMC senior living community, The Highlands at Pittsford. This total also includes several other area businesses and individuals who gave elsewhere but elected to credit their donations to URMC.

For more information on the new donor room and standing blood drive, please contact Louise Criticos at (585) 275-9569. To set up an appointment electronically, visit

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