Red Cross plans 26th Media Blood Donor Day

WINTERSVILLE – The American Red Cross Jefferson County chapter has been organizing a Media Blood Donor Day for 25 years and is currently preparing for the 26th drive set from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 18 at St. Florian Hall.

“Our goal this year is 86 units of blood. And we are encouraging everyone in the community to take this opportunity to donate blood to help save a life or help someone who needs blood,” announced Kathy Musso, executive director of the American Red Cross Jefferson County chapter.

“We are also asking donors to schedule when they would like to stop by to make a donation by going on our website at www.redcross.org and the code word is ‘jeffohio’ or by calling (800) 733-2767,” added Musso.

“If you can’t donate on the Media Blood Donor Day, you can also donate on the prior Monday here at our offices in Wintersville,” she noted.

Noreen Peterson of Steubenville is a survivor because a donor gave blood at a Red Cross blood drive.

“Two and a half years ago, I was feeling tired and short of breath. I was concerned that I was experiencing heart problems. I went to my doctor, who ran some tests, including blood work, and found that my hemoglobin count was 5.5, or half of what it should have been. I was admitted to the hospital overnight and received four blood transfusions. I went home the next day feeling like a new person. We never figured out why my blood count was so low, but blood donations certainly helped me feel much better. I call it my little miracle,” Peterson related.

“We will be giving away T-shirts to every blood donor while supplies last. This year’s Media Blood Donor Day is sponsored by Franciscan University of Steubenville, Trinity Health System and four media outlets, including the Herald-Star, WCDK-FM, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and WTOV-TV. We also hope to have a special canteen at the Media Blood Donor Day that will provide refreshments to the blood donors,” said organizer Phyllis Riccadonna.

“There are a lot of hours that go into one of these blood drives. The summer blood drives are so very important because the colleges and high schools aren’t open. Those schools are an important for our blood drives,” Riccadonna remarked.

“We will also have a double red machine at the Media Blood Donor Drive that takes two units of blood from the donor and returns the plasma to the patient. We need O positive and O negative as well as A and B negative blood types to use the double red machine,” Musso explained.

“And, according to Riccadonna, “we are also looking for volunteers to work at the Media Blood Donor Day. Anyone who is willing to work in our canteen, work as a greeter, registering donor and walking donors from their bed to the canteen can call the chapter office at (740) 264-7244 to tell us when you can volunteer.

“The blood donations are so important because donations are not limited to crash victims. You also have cancer patients, heart surgery patients and premature babies who need blood transfusions,” continued Riccadonna.

“Once the donation is made and the blood is sent for testing, we may find the donor has a disease or medical condition they didn’t know about, But the main reason people attend the donation events are because they want to help other people,” stated Musso.

“Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. Unfortunately while an estimated 38 percent of the population in the United States is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent actually donate each year. And the important thing to remember is blood can’t be manufactured … it can only come from generous donors,” said Musso.

“We can’t live without blood. That’s why the donors are so important to the Red Cross,” stressed Ricadonna.