The New York Blood Center is calling on New Yorkers to donate blood, as they say universal O-negative blood type is on short supply. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
New Yorkers rolled up their sleeves Saturday and faced a needle at the New York Blood Center on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
"Just don't want to look at it when it's going in. Then I'm fine," said donor Ysatis Llano.
"When you have somebody that knows what they're doing, it's a slight pinch and then it's done," said donor Michael Bodt.
The Blood Center's Jim Fox said that partly because of the holiday weekend, they have less than a two-day supply of O-negative blood, the universal donor. The organization, which serves around 200 hospitals, usually tries to have a seven- to nine-day supply of all blood types.
"The thing is, is that there's no substitute for human blood," Fox said. "We can't manufacture it, so we need people to donate, and we need a lot of it. We need 2,000 people a day."
O-negative blood is extremely rare. In fact, only 6 percent of the population has it. Out of all the people who came out to donate Saturday, NY1 found just one, Margaret Grover, with the universal blood type.
Grover has been donating blood since high school. And she's not the only one.
"I started when I was 17," Llano said.
Bodt began donating blood 15 years ago. On Saturday, he donated platelets, which takes a bit more time.
"With platelets, somebody might be in an accident, and they need platelets to clot their blood," he said. "So I know what I do today is going to pay off for someone."
Others donate for personal reasons. Llano donates because her friend is undergoing chemotherapy and needs frequent transfusions.
"Though unfortunately, I'm not her blood type, just hearing her story helped inspire me to go ahead and do this for other people," she said.
The Blood Center is hoping to inspire others as well.
For more information, or to find a center near you, call 800-933-BLOOD or visit nybloodcenter.org.