As hospitals and emergency organizations report generational lows at blood banks, the Bunker Hill Associates reported this week that they have decided to coordinate a blood drive in Charlestown to benefit Mass General Hospital this month.
The blood drive will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the MGH mobile buses in front of the Knights of Columbus Hall on Medford Street.
“There has been and is a dire need for blood at all blood donation centers, including the American Red Cross and Mass General,” said John Driscoll, who is a life-long Charlestown resident, a Bunker Hill Associate and associate director of police and security at MGH. “Most places are really depleted because at least 50 percent of blood drives they count on have been cancelled. At Mass General, about 50 percent of the blood we have comes from blood drives. We have two big buses at MGH on the go all the time for blood drives. They’re having a terrible time now though. Blood donations at Mass General are down 65 percent. I’m told that has never been the case in 20 years.”
The idea came when Associate Jimmy Lister Jr. gave blood recently on his own accord, and then came back to tell Past President Kim Mahoney how short blood supplies were. The two of them began to think that a new pivot for the Associates could be helping out by hosting a blood drive. Using their connections with Driscoll, they learned MGH was at crisis levels, and so the idea was conceived and delivered in short time.
“One reason we chose Mass General is that they are right in our own backyard,” said Mahoney. “We have the clinic here on High Street that has served so many families in Charlestown…Let’s face it. Anyone who has surgery from Charlestown, it’s always at Mass General.”
Said Driscoll, “Essentially, we’re giving to ourselves and to our family members.”
President Maureen Collier said the Associates have changed their focus during COVID-19 – first to feed the elderly with the grocery program and now as a stopgap to help blood supplies.
“This really keeps to the theme of what we’ve been doing this year,” said Collier. “During COVID-19 we have been helping people in many different ways. We have always focused on the youth, but we pivoted to feeding people and the grocery program for the elderly. This is another example of focusing on what’s going on in the world right now.”
Driscoll said they will have two, 40-foot buses from MGH on site Sept. 26, and those interested can book appointments by going to the donor portal website bit.ly/MGHCharlestown. Appointments will likely take about 40 minutes and Driscoll said they could potentially get 60 donors processed in the time allotted.
“These are two of the things I’m very proud of – where I work and the Bunker Hill Associates – coming together,” said Driscoll. “Both do so much good work in so many ways and it’s a win-win if we’re successful.”