The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the American Red Cross Jefferson County Chapter are challenging businesses this month, National Blood Donor Month, to donate blood.
Local businesses are asked to give their employees time off anytime between noon and 6 p.m. on Jan. 22 to donate blood at Eastern Gateway Community College.
Since 1970, Blood Donor Month has been celebrated in an effort to educate Americans about the importance of regular blood donations, according to Kathy Musso, executive director of the Jefferson County Red Cross Chapter.
Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce's special events committee members Tricia Maple Damewood of Bottom Line Marketing and John Cucarese New York Life, who also serve on the local Red Cross board, came up with the idea to have businesses take part in the blood drive.
"Tricia and John are both regular blood donors and know how important their donation can be to someone who may be having cardiac bypass surgery, has cancer, was born prematurely or was in an auto accident. Every day about 44,000 pints of blood are needed in the U.S.," Musso said.
Volunteer donors of all of blood types are continuously needed to maintain a strong and stable blood supply, Musso said. Donors with type O negative and B negative are especially needed now as hospital distributions of these blood types are outpacing donations, causing an urgent need situation. Type O negative blood can be used in emergencies, when there is no time to cross-match a person's blood type, officials said.
Area hospitals served by the Greater Alleghenies Blood Region of Red Cross Blood Services, which organizes local blood drives, include Barnesville Hospital Association, East Ohio Regional Hospital, Ohio Valley Medical Center Inc., Trinity Medical Centers East and West and Wetzel County Hospital.
Individual who are age 17 or older, or 16 in Ohio with signed parental permission, weigh 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Individuals should bring a blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification when coming to donate.
Donors will be able to enjoy a special canteen and be eligible for several prize packages to be given away in a drawing during the day, Musso said. The local business that collects the most blood by percentage of employees will receive a trophy honoring them for their efforts in supporting "Businesses Out For Blood."
For information or to make an appointment, go online at www.redcrossblood.org or call (800) RED CROSS.