Ridgewood Hockey Association Blood Drive
Spring was in the air and so was the spirit of giving. On Saturday, February 23rd, people of all ages lined up at the Ridgewood Roller Rink to donate blood at a drive sponsored by The Ridgewood Roller Hockey Association (RRHA).
Sixty-four people registered to donate at the drive, conducted by Community Blood Services of Paramus, and 46 units of blood were collected.
"It was great to see members of the community step up and donate blood," said Jeffrey Ball, co-president of the association. "A number of people I spoke to were first-time donors and were nervous going in, but everyone afterwards said how simple it really was and that they would do it again."
One of the first time donors was 17-year-old Joe Torre, who plays for the RRHA's senior team. "It feels good knowing I can help someone," he said after donating. " One of my friends was diagnosed with cancer, so I know how important donating blood is."
"It didn't surprise me when Joe showed up to donate," said Mr. Ball. "He is an exceptional young man who is great with the younger kids in town and is always volunteering to help."
Not all the donors were from Ridgewood. Chris Cheevers of River Edge, who was at the rink to watch his niece and nephews play hockey, also lined up to donate.
"It's great to see organizations working together to help people," said Mr. Cheevers. "It shows what this country is all about."
Jonathan Ball of Hawthorne also stopped by during his lunch hour from work to donate.
"Giving blood is such a simple thing to do and means so much to people," he said. "You don't realize how important donating is until you, a family member or a friend needs it."
"I thought it was heartwarming to see so many young people become aware of the importance of donating blood," said Richard Smith, a recruiter for Community Blood Services who helped set up the drive. "Their parents and other donors are setting an excellent example for these youngsters."
Michael Rumpolo, who plays for the Ridgewood Dragons, won a hockey stick raffled at the end of the drive. The hockey stick, donated by the New Jersey Devils, was autographed by player Scott Gomez. After realizing he won the raffle, Michael thanked his dad several times for donating blood.
RHA members who recruited donors were eligible to participate in the free raffle. For information on sponsoring a blood drive, please call Community Blood Services at 201-444-3900.