Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., July 14, 2020 –The reason to donate blood is simple, it helps save lives. Donating blood throughout the year is important, but shortages in blood and platelets often happen during the summer months. Typically, blood drives are conducted during this time to combat these annual shortages, but cancellations and stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic resulted in an emergency appeal throughout the New Jersey region.

Blood from generous donors helps with emergency surgeries and everyday needs such as treatments for those who suffer from blood disorders like sickle cell disease. Additionally, chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments used to treat cancer can affect the body’s ability to generate healthy blood cells, so those undergoing cancer treatment routinely require blood transfusions.

Right now is an important time to consider donating blood and platelets to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients in need. In the Blood Donor Room at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) New Brunswick, an RWJBarnabas facility, numerous safety protocols have been put in place to protect donors and staff members. These include temperature checks, required face coverings, social distancing requirements in waiting areas and donation spaces, and strict sanitary and disinfection protocols.

Donating blood is a safe and simple process. To be eligible to donate blood, one must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

While you’re reading this, another local patient was identified to need blood. Help today by donating blood and platelets at the RWJUH Blood Donor Room. For information, call 732-235-8100, Ext. 221 or book an appointment online at

Roger Strair, MD, PhD is a medical oncologist and chief of blood disorders at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.