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Birthday blood drive, Super Bowl ticket giveaway helping raise blood donations

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Cold weather like this keeps people home.

So do coughs, fevers and other illnesses going around. That adds up to fewer people rolling up their sleeves to donate blood.

“We’re experiencing this emergency blood shortage,” said Kara Vormwald, an account manager for the American Red Cross. “This is the second one so far in a span of, I believe, six months.”

Bad timing for the Red Cross in desperate need of donations.

“The start of the new year is a very challenging time to collect blood,” Vormwald said.

And there’s the pandemic factor. Since 2019, the number of donors has fallen by more than 300,000.

“The need for blood is obviously constant throughout the year,” Vormwald said. “What’s intensifying the need for blood donors to give now is that the nation is facing the lowest number of people giving blood in the last 20 years.”

The Red Cross hopes to score more donations by teaming up with the NFL this month.

Anyone who donates could win big with an automatic entry in a drawing for a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

There’s no need to entice Ebony Pengel, a Syracuse resident who celebrates her birthday with a blood drive every year.

“I did it one year just as something different to do and it was so well received,” she said. “So many of my friends came out and supported. So, I just kept doing it.”

And she does it with her cousin in mind, who has Sickle Cell Anemia and is constantly in need of blood transfusions.

“People don’t realize necessarily how easy it is to give blood, and don’t always connect that it really does impact people’s lives, saves lives.”

In fact, one gift from you can save up to three lives.

Ebony’s Birthday Blood Drive is this Friday from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM at the Salt City Market community room in downtown Syracuse.

You can sign up here or walk-in.

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