Donors turn out for bikers’ blood drive

WHEELING – Bikers from the Sentinels and Warthogs motorcycle clubs and other local residents turned out Monday for the Bikers Want Your Blood drive.

The annual event at WesBanco Arena aims to boost the American Red Cross Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region’s blood stores during a time of year when collections often run low. School is out for the summer and families are traveling and do not attend drives as often. According to the Red Cross, 87.8 percent of all blood donated comes from community drives conducted at churches, schools, businesses, hospitals, fire halls and other locations. And 12.2 percent comes from weekly, monthly or biweekly collection sites located across the region’s 100-county service area.

Dick Flanagan, Warthog club member, said the drive was started six years ago by Sentinel member Butch Tanner. Flanagan believes this year’s drive got off to a slow start because there was a rush of donors first thing in the morning. Some people got tired of waiting and decided to leave before donating, Tanner noted.

”I’ve always given blood. It’s a good thing to do,” Tanner said. ”We do it because there are people who need it. I’ve never needed it myself.”

Debbie Wines of Armstrongs Mills said she gives on a regular basis because her son once needed donated blood as a child.

”My son had open heart surgery as a kid,” Wines said.

Mary Cunningham of Cameron was looking forward to again increasing her lifetime donation total.

She carries with her a leather key chain with blood drop pins attached to it, each representing a gallon donated.

”I’ve donated 10 gallons and I’m working on my 11th,” Cunningham said, noting she began donating at 18 years old. ”It’s the only thing I’m good at. I donate for anybody that needs my blood.”

C.B. Winzenreid of Martins Ferry said she likes to donate simply ”to help.”

”I donate as often as I can,” she said.

Upcoming blood drives include:

St. Clairsville, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Riesbeck’s Corporate Office, 48661 National Road

Wheeling, noon to 6 p.m. July 15, Ohio Valley Medical Center, 2000 Eoff St.

Wintersville, noon to 6 p.m. July 15, American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 81 Talbott Drive.