On Monday, October 24, New York Blood Center (NYBC) held the official grand opening of its Brooklyn Donor Center at 30 Flatbush Avenue. More than 75 guests attended the celebration which included local elected officials, blood donors, and recipients. Sharing remarks and joining in the ribbon cutting were Brooklyn Borough Director Anthony “Tony” Herbert from the Office of the Mayor, NYS Assembly Member JoAnn Simon, Hassaan Chaudhary from the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers, and Jennifer Joseph representing the Speaker of the NYC Council. The new center is expected to bring in about 10,000 blood donations per year.
The Brooklyn Donor Center features a mural by Brooklyn-based street artist Vince Ballentine. The artist was at the event and spoke to the significance of the mural and his artistic process for the piece. Three of the blood recipients featured in the mural, were present, including Mesiah Singh, whose brother King got to meet his blood donor as part of the event.
Mesiah and King Singh were both born with a rare blood disease called glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency or G6PD. G6PD causes red blood cells to break down in response to certain medications, infections, or other stressors. As there is no cure for this disease, the only lifesaving treatment is a blood transfusion when the red cells break down from a trigger. At the age of two, King was also diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood cancer. After three and a half years of intense, daily chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions, King is now cancer-free.
“This is an important day for New York Blood Center and for our city’s blood supply. Diverse donors are essential to the blood supply as conditions from Sickle Cell Disease to different forms of leukemia require closely matched donations, and Brooklyn has one of the most richly diverse populations in New York City,” said Andrea Cefarelli, NYBCe Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications. “Thank you to our city’s leaders for supporting us today and every day. We are also grateful to those who came to meet King, a special boy who has overcome so many challenges and today was able to thank his incredible donors.”
“The gift of blood is the gift of life,” stated Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “The reopening of the New York Blood Center at 30 Flatbush Avenue is cause for celebration. The relaunching of this critical Brooklyn Donor Center is a community lifeline for those in need, especially given the chronic shortages of blood donations since the pandemic. The Brooklyn Chamber applauds the vital work of the New York Blood Center and looks forward to partnering in the effort to promote the importance of blood collection.”
Check out the News 12 New Jersey story covering the grand celebration!