Class of 2024 Cadet Alexander Tucker donated his blood to the New York Blood Center Blood Drive in response to a national blood supply shortage due to the COVID-19 Delta variant.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Class of 2024 Cadet Alexander Tucker donated his blood to the New York Blood Center Blood Drive in response to a national blood supply shortage due to the COVID-19 Delta variant. (Photo Credit: Jorge Garcia) VIEW ORIGINAL
Cadets, faculty and staff eagerly sign up to donate blood during the annual West Point Blood Drive facilitated by the New York Blood Center at Eisenhower Hall between Aug. 23-26 at the U.S. Military Academy.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadets, faculty and staff eagerly sign up to donate blood during the annual West Point Blood Drive facilitated by the New York Blood Center at Eisenhower Hall between Aug. 23-26 at the U.S. Military Academy. (Photo Credit: Jorge Garcia) VIEW ORIGINAL

Class of 2022 Cadet Mark Salzman did not overthink it. Michele Lariviere, the director of donor recruitment at the New York Blood Center, said the NYBC recorded exceedingly low numbers on blood donations due to the COVID-19 Delta variant. With that in mind, it made perfect sense for Salzman to visit Eisenhower Hall and donate his blood during the NYBC Blood Drive Aug. 23-26 at the U.S. Military Academy.

“My mother had cancer, so I feel very personally about this. I know how vital it is to help people who are in serious need. The blood drive is a team effort; I’m healthy and I know that other people need my blood more than I do right now, so I like to come out whenever I can to support,” Salzman said. “It’s quick and easy — after a couple of minutes, you feel normal again. The short bit of discomfort you feel during the process is worth potentially saving lives.”

Like Salzman, Class of 2023 Cadet Robert Woody understands the significance that donating blood could have on someone’s life. With an O-positive blood type, standing in line to fill out paperwork and give a part of himself to those in need felt great and sensible, Woody said.

“It’s important to consider the big picture and think about where your blood donation would go, especially if you got a blood type that’s in high demand,” Woody said. “I knew somebody who needed a blood transfusion from a gunshot wound, so I understand the impact donating can have. Hopefully, I can help somebody with my contribution.”

According to the NYBC press release, since the start of COVID-19, blood donations have decreased considerably. As a result, many community organizations, businesses and schools canceled blood drives, and donor centers are receiving fewer donations.

“In recent weeks, the blood supply has dropped from 5 days to a 2-3 day supply and 1-2 day supply of type O; NYBC warns this could signal more severe shortages in the weeks ahead,” the NYBC press release stated. “There has been a chronic blood shortage throughout the pandemic, but NYBC had anticipated the supply would rebound soon when vaccinated New Yorkers resumed some normal activities. NYBC also expected school and office blood drives to return this fall. The Delta variant has halted that recovery and threatens the blood supply.”

Lariviere added the NYBC always schedules blood drives in a time of great need, and typically, during August, blood centers are short of blood. Additionally, with the pandemic compounding their donation efforts with other community institutions, the NYBC coordinated with West Point to facilitate the blood drive where cadets, faculty and staff were more than willingly donate.

“West Point always steps up, and this time is no different. Faculty and staff put out important information to get people within the community to donate. Throughout this week, we had a lot of cadet, faculty and staff participation, even the Dean of the Academic Board, Brig. Gen. Shane Reeves, came down and donated, so did the Director of Athletics, Mike Buddie,” Lariviere said. “We have a lot of support from people who lead by example here at West Point, which encourages people within the community to come down.”