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Understanding the Church’s teaching on a value of human life and the need to offer unconditionally in saving lives of others, the seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ) Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan, Seminarians Andrii Vatrych and Maskym Zhuravchyk as well as Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak and Sundeacon Ihor Protsak accompanied His Eminence Archbishop Daniel on a trip to a local Somerset, NJ area medical institution – Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center – in order to donate blood as an act of charity, fraternal love and self-sacrifice.

“It is because on the note below, that I am truly honored to express the sentiments of gratitude to the seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary that made a CHOICE to answer the URGENT call and joined me in donating blood to the most vulnerable people of our community in NJ!” – stated Archbishop Daniel, quoting the following letter from the RWJUH:

“... The challenges presented by COVID-19 are unprecedented and rapidly evolving. The health of our community remains the top priority of Robert Wood Johnson New Brunswick Blood Services and we are committed to the safety of our patients and blood donors.

Now more than ever, we rely on the generosity of volunteer blood donors... Current events have not altered the critical blood needs of patients but will likely reduce the existing blood supply due to unforeseeable events such as blood drive cancellations from school and office closures, travel deferrals, self-quarantine and state ban of social gatherings.

Here's what you need to know:

- Despite visitor restrictions, blood donors are invited and always welcome to our campus.

- We remain vigilant in maintaining safe protocols in the donor room by routine decontamination of the chair and equipment after each donation and between donors.

- We are anticipating a conceivable and impending threat to our nation's blood supply. To ensure that our patients receive blood transfusions essential to sustain life is through selfless donors like you.

Together, we will overcome this crisis and emerge stronger by working together and remembering our neighbors in need.

RWJUH New Brunswick Blood Services and RWJUH Transfusion Services...”

Vladyka also said, “Donating blood helps save the lives of our neighbors – it is literally a gift of life. That is why the Church encourages the parishioners to respond to a real need in our communities. By raising awareness, encouraging discussion and providing ways to give, local Ukrainian Orthodox parish families could play a significant role in transforming the lives of others through donation…

Blood donations are critical to help save the lives of people you see every day. Whether it be friends, family members, parish friends or colleagues at work, we all get touched by these donations in some way...”

A survey, conducted by Christian research centers found that 10% of Christians have given blood in the last year compared to 4% of the general population who have given blood in the last two years. Every blood donation saves or improves the lives of up to three people.

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