Area gives at annual Media Blood Donor Day

WINTERSVILLE – Robert Woodward is a regular blood donor, giving his O-negative blood at least twice a year.

And, the Richmond resident was front and center Wednesday morning at the St. Florian Hall for the 25th- annual Media Blood Donor Day.

“My blood is getting old and I don’t know if it works anymore,” laughed Woodward, a retired electrician from Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.

His blood did work quite well, even though the Red Cross nurse recognized Woodward and his “hard to find veins”.

“They usually have a hard time finding my veins these days. I started donating blood when I was in the service in the early 1960s and just continued doing it,” he explained.

Woodward volunteered for the double red machine at the blood drive that takes two units of blood from the donor and returns the plasma to the patient.

“When I am done I will get a pastry and some orange juice then I am heading for Atwood Lake where we have an RV parked. I came today to do my part for someone who needs blood and then I am going to go enjoy the day,” said Woodward.

Jerry Jo Gilham volunteered as a greeter at the blood drive before she volunteered to donate blood.

“We work in shifts, so right now I am greeting people coming in the door. Later on, I will donate my A-positive blood. I try to give at least twice a year. I give because people need blood and it is the charitable thing to do. And, I am also on the American Red Cross Jefferson County Chapter board of directors. Sometimes my iron is too low, but I have to try,” Gilham explained.

“Our goal this year was 86 units of blood. We had 56 pre-registrations before our blood drive today which is a very good start. We finished our drive with 73 units of blood collected today. It was a very successful Media Blood Donor Drive today,” declared Kathy Musso, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter.

“The turnout today was very good when we opened the doors, which is a good sign. I thank everyone who donated blood and who volunteered to work at our blood drive.” added Musso.

“If anyone wasn’t able to donate on the Media Blood Donor Day, they can donate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 4 at the Fort Steuben Mall. That is a key blood drive because of the accidents that occur during the summer holiday,” she noted.

“We gave away T-shirts to every blood donor. This year’s Media Blood Donor Day was 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,” said organizer Phyllis 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 is because they want to help other people,” stated Musso.

“Every two seconds, someone in the United States need 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. The important thing to remember is blood can’t be manufactured …i t can only come from generous donors,” declared Musso.

(Gossett can be contacted at