WINTERSVILLE - During the academic year, many schools and colleges hold blood drives, providing about 25 percent of the blood supplied to patients in need, so the supply in summer often is low, said Kathy Musso, executive director of the Jefferson County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
But the need doesn't lessen in the warmer months, as victims of accidents involving motorcycles, boats and other vehicles turn up frequently at hospitals.
"There also are still people receiving cancer treatment or undergoing surgery for various reasons," Musso noted.
PREPARING TO DONATE — Sam Ivkovich of Steubenville answers a question from Amy Morgan, a phlebotomist with the American Red Cross, before giving blood Tuesday during the Jefferson County Chapter of the American Red Cross’ Media Blood Donor Day at St. Florian Hall. -- Warren Scott
So to boost its blood supply, the American Red Cross schedules special summer blood drives it promotes with the help of local media. In the case of the blood drive held Tuesday at St. Florian Hall, the media included the Herald-Star, WOGH-FM, WCDK-FM, Clear Channel Communications and WTOV-TV.
The drive fell just short of the chapter's goal of 106 units, with about 90 units collected. But Musso was pleased with the turnout.
"Today has been just great. The donor flow has been really smooth, with lots of donors out," she said.
Among them was Dale Callahan of Steubenville, who said, "I started years ago when my father had a heart attack and have done it ever since."
As a chaplain for Trinity Health System, area pastor John Ater of Brilliant has been called upon to counsel people dealing with emergencies and knows about the urgent need for blood.
Charles Israel of Steubenville said he has donated blood since the 1980s and became involved with the American Red Cross for a time as a volunteer.
"I actually I enjoyed it. I realize what I do helps three other people," Israel said, noting the American Red Cross estimates that by giving one pint of blood, a donor can help up to three people.
Volunteers of all ages were on hand to direct donors to several phlebotomists who were ready to collect the blood and to a table where food donated by Domino's Pizza, Vocelli Pizza and Subway awaited them.
Musso said McDonald's, Eat 'N Park, King's Family Restaurant, the Steubenville YMCA and the Hindman family also donated gift certificates and other items given away during the drive.
Among the many volunteers was Sabrina McCoy of Wintersville, who said, "I just like to give back to my community and I have the time. It makes me feel good about myself."
New to blood drives were Drey and Trey Hilson, twin brothers who were volunteering to earn community service credits as students at Steubenville High School.
Drey wasn't old enough to give blood Tuesday but said he would consider it in the future.
To donate blood, individuals must be at least 17 years old or have parental or guardian consent at 16 in Ohio, weigh 110 pounds and be in generally good health.
Musso said those who missed Tuesday's blood drive may attend two in the near future. One will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Dixon Nursing Center in Wintersville. The other is set for noon to 6 p.m. July 3 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Wintersville.
The Jefferson County Chapter also collects blood at its office at 81 Talbott Drive on the first and third Mondays of each month. Those interested in giving blood then should call the office first at (740) 264-7244 to make an appointment.
Musso added future blood drives also can be found through the "donate" link at the American Red Cross' website at www.redcross.org.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)