WHEEILNG - More than 38,000 blood donations are needed by hospitals every day, according to the American Red Cross website.
So members of local motorcycle clubs and the American Red Cross's Greater Alleghenies Region attempted to put a dent in that number Monday.
The fifth-annual "Bikers Want Your Blood" blood drive took place at WesBanco Arena on Monday, bringing in community members of all ages to donate a pint of blood. The drive occurred at a critical time for the Red Cross after it issued a nationwide emergency appeal for blood donations last month when blood supplies dipped dangerously low for the summer.
Photo by Sarah Harmon
Wheeling resident Ron Miller donates blood at WesBanco Arena during the fifth annual “Bikers Want Your Blood” summer blood drive. The American Red Cross issued a nationwide emergency appeal for donations as summer blood supplies dropped dangerously low.
"The levels are dangerous because patients and hospitals depend on the Red Cross as a primary supplier of blood and blood products. If we don't have it, they don't have it," Cheryl Gergely, communications manager for the American Red Cross's Greater Alleghenies Region, said. "We encourage people to come out in the next few days and weeks because the inventory is so low. It's a national appeal, but it applies to the local area."
Gergely said all blood types are needed, but the Red Cross is especially in need of blood types O negative, A negative, B negative and O positive.
On Monday, the drive collected 268 productive units from 280 presenting donors, Gergely said.
"I've donated blood since I've been in the military, but I haven't done it lately," said Wheeling resident Ronald Miller, one of several lying on green stretchers donating blood. "I had jury duty today, but I didn't get called in so I thought I'd come down and donate blood."
According to the American Red Cross website, one pint of blood has the potential to save up to three people's lives. The original blood product that the Red Cross collects can be separated into four different components including red cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate.
Donors must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds and must be 17 years old or 16 years old with parental consent in West Virginia. The Red Cross recommends that donors have a healthy meal and drink an extra 16 ounces of liquid before and after donating, especially since temperatures have been so high. It is also recommended that donors wear loose and light-colored clothing when going to donate to help beat the heat. The entire donation process takes about an hour and 15 minutes.
Brenda Phillips of Triadelphia is a member of the Christian Motorcycle Association and was recovering in the arena's refreshment area after she had donated blood. She said that she has been donating blood for 30 years.
"I do it because it's the right thing to do," Phillips said. "If I had a loved one that needed blood, I would want them to have it. I want to get to help other people."