WHEELING - Moundsville resident Harry Burge said he has been donating blood for the past 15 years because "it helps people out."
"I try to donate whenever they call me. I think it's good to come out and donate to help people," he said.
Burge was one of the many people who turned out Monday for the 27th annual Ohio Valley Media Day Blood Drive at WesBanco Arena. Burge was accompanied by his friends Bill Jones and Steve Derrow, both of Moundsville, who also believe donating blood is important.
WesBanco Arena is busy with people donating and waiting to donate blood during the Ohio Valley Media Day Blood Drive on Monday. -- Shelley Hanson
Derrow said he usually gives during smaller drives and it was his first Media Day experience. He noted the wait to give was a little long. American Red Cross spokeswoman Cheryl Gergely said organizers encourage people to make appointments for drives because it is supposed to speed up the process. But sometimes people do have to wait longer than they like, she conceded.
"We've had a good turnout so far. We appreciate people in Wheeling supporting this blood drive," she said, noting they collected 319 units of blood. The drive's goal was 400 units.
"It was a little disappointing, but we are still grateful for those who came out," Gergely said, noting the cold temperatures may have prevented some from coming to donate.
Jones said he realized the need for donated blood after his nephew had an organ transplant.
"It makes you feel good when you come up here and do this," Derrow said. "Ones that are closer to my house I'll go to. They need more (blood drives) closer to Moundsville."
While giving a double red donation of blood, which is equal to giving two units, Triadelphia resident Mandy Lawrence was bundled in her coat and jacket trying to keep warm.
"When they put the white cells back it feels cold. It doesn't help we're on top of ice," Lawrence quipped, referring to the hockey ice covered with pieces of wood at the arena.
Lawrence said she has the universal type of blood, O negative, which is why she likes to use the double red donation method.
"It doesn't hurt. It's not that bad," she said.
Gergely noted in addition to O negative, B negative also is in high demand.