STEUBENVILLE - Planning for the 2013 Media Blood Donor Day officially kicked off Tuesday afternoon at Eat N' Park Restaurant with enthusiasm as Dana Zikesh, interim manager of the American Red Cross Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region, reviewed suggestions to increase interest in the annual event.
"This beautiful weather today is bringing out a new found energy for me. I am excited about this year's blood drive," Zikesh.
"The America Red Cross is using a new campaign this year called 'Live a story-Give a story' to encourage blood donors to tell why they donate blood on a regular basis and the stories from the people who have received blood donations," added Zikesh.
MEDIA BLOOD DONOR DAY — American Red Cross representatives met Tuesday afternoon with area media to discuss plans for the 25th-annual Media Blood Donor Day, set for June 25 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville. Taking part in the planning meeting were, from left, Kathy Musso, executive director of the Jefferson County Red Cross chapter; Dana Zikesh, interim manager of the American Red Cross Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region; Kristen Murdock-Breeze of WTOV-TV and Steve Kline of WCDK-FM. -- Dave Gossett
"We want to get at least 100 donors to walk through the doors on June 25. Our media blood donor drive will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville. Our donor calendar runs from July 1 to June 30, and at this point we have collected 1,380 units of blood, or 94 percent of our yearly goal," explained Kathy Musso, executive director of the Jefferson County Red Cross chapter.
"We have a blood drive set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 30 at Eastern Gateway Community College. And, we hope to surpass our annual goal with the media blood donor drive on June 25. We also have blood donations available at our chapter offices in Wintersville from noon to 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of every month," Musso said.
"This year's Media Blood Donor Day is our 25th anniversary event. Unfortunately we have seen our donations decrease over the years due to the aging population and the loss of residents in the area. There are fewer people to donate blood on a regular basis. So we are also trying to encourage more high school and college students to become active blood donors," noted Musso.
"We have a ton of high school kids who support us. And some of the students are pretty regular donors. We also have some college students who donate on a regular basis," added Musso.
Musso said the area media supporters include the Herald-Star, WCDK-FM, WEIR-AM, WOGH-FM and WTOV-TV.
"We have some new media tools available for this media day donor day campaign. Hopefully we can reach out to the past donors who haven't donated as much as they used to and encourage them to start donating regularly again," stated Zikesh.
Musso said they are considering urging blood donors to wear a T-shirt they received during past media blood donor days, "as sort of a retro day."
"We are also looking for a supporter to pay for T-shirts we will give away at this year's media blood donor day event," added Musso.
According to Zikesh, "it is important for everyone to know their blood is important for donation purposes."
"Type A donations are needed because 85 percent of the population can receive Type A platelets. Type AB is the universal plasma which means plasma from AB donors can be given to all blood types. The Red Cross continually seeks Type O donors who are willing to make multiple donations a year. And Type B is very important for Type B patients," said Zikesh.
"A donor can give blood six times a year, A blood donor can save three lives from a single donation. That is why donating blood is so important," Zikesh commented.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)