The New River YMCA hosted their inaugural blood drive with partner, the American Red Cross, Jan 23.

The American Red Cross holds blood drives seven days a week across America to combat the ever growing need for blood. It cannot be manufactured, and therefore the only way one can receive it is through donations. The need is always present, so the American Red Cross works tirelessly to ensure no matter the reason, donations are always ready. The New River YMCA, which opened last October, is ready to do their part to help the community.

“While this is our first one, we aim to hold a drive quarterly,” said Jane Schirmer, executive director of the New River YMCA. “Even before we opened, we knew this would be on the forefront of our events. It is something we are all passionate about, which is why so many of our employees were the first to volunteer to donate.”

The New River YMCA, which is located on Chaney Avenue in downtown Jacksonville, has been making great strides towards community involvement in the past few months since they opened.

“We have a before and after school program that serves over 800 kids in Jacksonville,” said Maggie Scheetz, membership coordinator with the New River YMCA. “While the facility is still new, we already have in place 30 group exercise classes weekly and drop in child care twice a week. We feel as though it is important for us to be available to support the community in multiple ways, and this blood drive is just the beginning.”

All types of blood are accepted for donation. According to the American Red Cross, nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S. Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S. The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately three units. The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.

“I come out to give blood about every eight weeks,” said William Douglas, Onslow County senior and Air Force reserve veteran. “I do this because I am able and I know they need it.”

For more information on upcoming events at the New River YMCA, go to their event listings on https://www.facebook.com/NewRiverYMCA.