JERSEY CITY (CBSNewYork) – With schools and businesses closed, many blood drives have been canceled.
That has the New Jersey Red Cross calling for more donors.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke to a Jersey City family about why donating is so important. For them, it’s personal.
“Chloe knows who she is in this world,” said Michael Brown, her father.
Chloe Rose Brown is only six. She’s the youngest of two and fearless.
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“She had zero fear of the water. Chloe just got in and like started swimming. That’s kind of who she is,” said her mother, Funmilayo Brown.
But her parents say she doesn’t like to make a splash. Chloe is shy, leaving them to do the talking – at least for this story.
“Sounds like she runs the house?” said CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
“Yes,” Michael said.
“She’s a feisty one. She’s great. She’s been in remission. This month makes 3 years now,” Funmilayo said.
At 2, Chloe was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer.
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“To continue receiving chemotherapy, to basically save her life, we had to keep getting blood transfusions,” Funmilayo said.
Blood donations helped keep Chloe alive, and she no longer needs transfusions. But her parents couldn’t imagine being in this situation today, with coronavirus spreading and fewer people donating blood.
“People will literally die without it and our daughter easily could have been one of them,” Funmilayo said.
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The American Red Cross of New Jersey wants to keep the blood donations flowing but many schools and businesses, which would normally hold blood drives, have canceled events.
“We’re trying to avoid a public health crisis within a crisis,” said Rosie Taravella, regional CEO of the American Red Cross of New Jersey.
Taravella is addressing safety concerns from her own experience recently donating, hoping Chloe will inspire others to donate blood and to keep fighting.
“You go through a health screening. All of the surfaces are wiped down ,” Taravella said.
“Even though things might feel without hope, there is a bright day ahead of us and that’s the thing Chloe has definitely taught us,” Michael said.
If you want to donate blood, the Red Cross asks you make an appointment in advance as they are limiting the number of people in one location at a time, to follow social distancing rules.
TO DONATE BLOOD, CLICK HERE.
Because of the need for blood donations, the FDA is revising some of their donor eligibility requirements.
The deferral period has been reduced from 12 months to three months for the following donors: male donors who have had sex with another man, female donors who have had sex with a man who had sex with another man, those with recent tattoos and piercings and those who have traveled to malaria-endemic areas.
The FDA is also eliminating deferrals for those who spent time in certain European countries or on military bases in Europe who were previously considered to have been exposed to a potential risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.