WHEELING - To try and collect more blood during the summer months, the American Red Cross is starting a new drive.
The first Blades and Badges Blood Drive is slated 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 7 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. Red Cross spokeswoman Marianne Spampinato said in addition to the Wheeling Nailers - whose home base is WesBanco Arena - local police officers, firefighters and other first responders are helping with recruitment to the drive, as the name suggests.
"We came into it with the Nailers really stepping up to co-sponsor the blood drive along with emergency responders," Spampinato said.
Photo courtesy/ Rebecca Olsavsky
Cheryl Gergely, American Red Cross spokeswoman, stands inside WesBanco Arena, where the Blades and Badges Blood Drive will be held July 7.
The Nailers will be giving donors T-shirts while supplies last. In addition to free parking at the nearby Intermodal Parking Center, free babysitting also is offered. As usual, a canteen will be set up for donors afterward.
"It can be challenging this time year. Schools are out of session, there is less population on campuses and people are taking vacations. Businesses are not able to support drives because of lower staffing because people are on vacation, but the blood needs continue," she said.
For perspective, in West Virginia annually 120,000 blood components are used and the Red Cross supplies it to hospitals, Spampinato said. During summer months the need for blood increases with people simply enjoying themselves, as accidents occur while people are outdoors doing activities or work. For example, 250,000 people received medical treatment last year after being injured by lawn mowers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"In hospitals the blood has to be on the shelf when the need arises," she said, adding it takes 48 hours for testing and typing before a blood donation can be used.