When Warren Sufrin rolls up his sleeve on Dec.15, he will be doing much more than just donating a pint of blood.
He will be responsible for the donation of 100 pints of blood that day, the result of a community blood drive at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills in honor of Sufrin’s own 100th blood donation.
Sufrin, 52 and type A positive, began donating blood soon after graduating high school, and has been making it a priority in his life ever since.
“It takes so little time, but does so much for the community,” Sufrin said.
When Sufrin realized he was coming up on his 100th donation through the Central Blood Bank, he saw an opportunity to use the milestone as a way to inspire others, he said.
“I went to the Central Blood Bank and said, ‘How can we make this a bigger event to cause other people to want to give as well?’” he said.
The result is the 100 Pint Challenge to be held at Beth El — the congregation of which Sufrin is a lifetime member — on Dec. 15. The aim is to get 100 people to donate blood either that day, or another day through the end of the year, in honor of Sufrin’s own commitment.
“My goal is to get new donors who wouldn’t otherwise be giving,” he said. “Right now we have 25 people committed, and I know there are many more who have already given.”
Although Dec. 15 will mark Sufrin’s 100th donation through the Central Blood Bank, that achievement does not include additional donations that Sufrin made while a college student at Boston University through various blood drives in his dormitory.
To reach 100 donations is not a common feat, according to Caitlyn Doyle, a spokesperson for the Central Blood Bank.
“It’s not very common at all,” Doyle said, “because it requires such a commitment, and a time commitment.”
While a blood donation typically only requires about an hour of time, start to finish, one must be committed to donate on a regular basis to reach such a milestone, she said.
“A person can only donate blood every 56 days, so [Sufrin] has been donating for many years,” she said. “It takes dedication and a knowledge and an awareness of the necessity of it.”
At any given time, only 37 percent of people are eligible to donate blood, according to Doyle, because of issues such as weight, age, medications and iron level. Of that 37 percent, fewer than 5 percent actually come out to donate.
“That’s why stories like Warren’s are huge,” she said.
“I think a lot of people don’t think about blood donations until it affects them,” Doyle continued. “But every day, people are getting transfusions, and the only way for them to get blood is from blood donations.”
The need for blood in western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas is huge. The Central Blood Bank requires about 500 donors a day to meet the requirements of the 40 hospitals it services in Pittsburgh, eastern Ohio, Meadville, and northern West Virginia.
It is particularly difficult to meet those needs in winter, Doyle said, because people travel, and because of the holidays.
As a seasoned blood donator, Sufrin encourages anyone who is able to give.
“I’ve never had a problem,” he said. “It takes an hour, then you get on with your life. It is evident there is a need for blood, and not enough donors.”
It’s not surprising that Sufrin is committed to the cause of blood donation. The director of technology at the Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Sufrin spends a large portion of his time in the service of others. He sits on the executive committees of both Beth El and of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs and is the chairman of the board of Pittsburgh Israel Bonds.
And he will not be satisfied with a mere 100 donations of blood.
“My goal would be to try to hit 200 or 300,” he said. “There is no age limit on the upper end, so as long as I’m healthy, I’ll continue to give.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Want to join Warren for his 100th donation? Here are your options:
· Call or email Warren at email@example.com or 412-805-8946 and he’ll sign you up;
· Sign up yourself on the Central Blood Bank website, centralbloodbank.org by searching for the Beth El Congregation blood drive using Sponsor Code G0020005;
· Call the Central Blood Bank at 1-866-donors1 and ask them to help you to sign up.
You’ll need the following code so the 100-pint challenge will succeed: G0020005
If you can’t participate on December 15th at Beth El, you can donate through the end of the year and contribute to the 100-pint challenge by using the code G0020005.