As a non-profit, New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) relies on philanthropy to continue collecting and distributing blood, conducting groundbreaking research, and fighting against COVID-19. While 2020 was a difficult year for many, blood and plasma donors and financial contributors stepped up to help the organization through this time of crisis.
One such constituent is Rose Mary Colorafi of Portland, Oregon. In April 2020, Rose received her government stimulus check and decided to donate a portion of that money to NYBCe.
Recently, Rose answered some questions about her connection with NYBCe and explained why she decided to use her stimulus check to support the Enterprise.
Q: What is your relationship to NYBCe? How did you first hear about the organization?
Rose: I donated blood at New York Blood Center a few times when I lived in New York City over 10 years ago. I believe I first heard about the organization on TV.
Q. How long did you live in New York City? Do you have a strong connection to the city?
Rose: I was born, raised, and educated there. I decided that I wanted to move somewhere else about 10 years ago, so I took some trips and explored the country a bit. I ended up deciding on Portland, Oregon, and I plan to be here for the rest of my life. But New York is still in my heart.
Q: What inspired you to donate to NYBCe? What attracted you to their cause?
Rose: Knowing how hard New York City was hit, especially in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt compelled to help in any way I could. Being a former New Yorker with loved ones and associates there only motivated me more.
I was also inspired to donate after hearing about what NYBCe was doing to help. I think I first heard about their COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) program on the radio. I had just received my government stimulus check, which, fortunately, I didn’t need too much at the moment. So I went on New York Blood Center’s website to learn more. There was a large banner ad about convalescent plasma.
Between learning about CCP, donating blood to NYBCe in the past, and my personal connection to the city, donating felt like a good thing to do. It all just kind of came together.
Q: How did you feel after donating to NYBCe?
Rose: I’m a licensed mental health counselor in the state of New York and a licensed professional counselor in the state of Oregon. I’ve worked in mental health for quite a while. I have a private practice part-time, and I have a full-time job working as a crisis intervention specialist by phone.
In my line of work, I often hear stories about peoples’ emotional pain due to COVID-19. Donating to NYBCe helped me feel less helpless in the face of the pandemic. Donating to NYBCe was another way for me to help alleviate suffering and help improve people’s lives, which is pretty much my life’s mission.
Q: Given your roles as a licensed mental health counselor and telephone crisis intervention specialist, do you have any tips for people looking for ways to take care of themselves or support their community right now?
Rose: There are so many things you can do, and it could be very individual to the person. Oftentimes, what I advise is to take some time for yourself each day. Whether it’s taking several deep breaths, being in nature, or just doing an activity you enjoy, it’s important to stop for a moment and not be so focused on going from one task to another. We could all use one or two minutes spread throughout the day or, maybe, 20 minutes altogether.
I think it’s also important to remember that there are still positive things in life, despite the challenges we’re all facing and the exhaustion we may be feeling from the pandemic.
And if a person finds that they’re not able to find any joy anywhere, it’s okay to seek professional help. That’s what it’s there for. I like to tell my clients, if you broke your ankle, wouldn’t you seek medical attention? Well, your mind feels a little broken, you know, you go see a mental health specialist.
Q: Why do you think others should support NYBCe?
Rose: NYBCe is working on convalescent plasma collection and distribution as well as COVID-19 research that is essential right now. In my own research, I was surprised to learn that the organization doesn’t just operate regionally, but it also helps communities nationally and internationally. In a difficult time like this, I think it’s important to help others in any way we can.
NYBCe relies on financial contributions from generous constituents like Rose Mary Colorafi in order to provide vital healthcare services to communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. These services include collecting and distributing convalescent plasma to hospitals, conducting antibody tests, and maintaining an adequate blood supply. NYBCe also requires financial contributions to conduct lifesaving research and train the next generation of leaders in cellular therapy and transfusion medicine.
To help NYBCe fulfill their mission, you can give gift via their online gift giving form right now or visit our Support Us section to learn about other ways to give. For more information on NYBCe’s philanthropic needs, contact the Office of Philanthropy team. To schedule an appointment to donate blood and help NYBCe after the COVID-19 pandemic caused their supply to drop to dangerously low levels, visit donate.nybc.org.