And you don’t have to travel far to donate and earn a chance to win tickets, nor do you have to wait long at all. This Saturday, July 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., our friends at Emanuel United Church of Christ, 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, will be holding their annual Warren Ackermann Memorial Blood Drive.
You are not required to give your Social Security number, but photo or signature ID is required. You can schedule an appointment, if you wish, by calling either Dolores Rosato (718-847-1694) or Eric Ackermann (718-441-5727), but walk-ins are welcome (enter through the 91st Avenue entrance). The hall where donations are taken is fully air-conditioned.
Warren Ackermann was a beloved member of Emanuel United Church of Christ for many years. “He was a Sunday school teacher, he served as treasurer, he was on the board of consistory, he was a member of the choir,” his son Eric told me. “Whatever needed to be done, he was willing to fill that role.
“My mother met him at Emanuel over 60 years ago, they fell in love, got married and started a family,” he added, referring to his two older brothers and a sister. “We’re lifetime members at Emanuel. It is like a second family to us; a group of people who are all there for one another, all there to help.”
And that desire to help extends beyond the church, hence the desire to collect blood to help keep our city hospital blood banks fully stocked. They currently go through about 2,000 pints a day.
“Every pint that someone donates helps save three lives,” Eric explains. “When they collect blood, it is separated into three parts: the red cells, the platelets, and the plasma, all of which are needed and used to save lives every day.”
The church began holding blood drives six years ago when one of its members, a Girl Scout named Gabrielle Rosato, was going for her Silver Star and wanted to perform a service for the community.
“At the time, my father was ill and he was going through dialysis and needed a few blood transfusions, and Gabrielle thought it would be nice to do it in honor of him,” Ackermann explained. “Unfortunately, he passed away right before the blood drive could take place, so they named it in memory of him.”
Emanuel’s Blood Drive has grown from year to year, and this year they are hoping to break their record by collecting 50 pints. One of the things that makes collecting blood difficult is that many people are not sure whether they are eligible to donate. Many people automatically assume that they are ineligible to donate because they take medication, when that might not be the case. It depends what kinds of medication and how often.
According to the New York Blood Center’s website, you may donate if you are at least 17 years old (16 years old with written consent from parent or legal guardian), weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in good health. Donors age 76 and older can continue to donate blood if they meet all donor criteria and present a physician's letter allowing them to donate.
If you have any questions about your eligibility, call the New York Blood Center at (800) 688-0900 and ask. This is a great local event and a great opportunity to earn a chance to win tickets to the Super Bowl next January. Hope to see you there!