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Give the gift of life

Area residents will have an opportunity to perform a simple and selfless act on Monday.

That’s when this year’s Media Day Blood Drive is scheduled to be held at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. The doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and we urge everyone who is eligible to participate in the annual event.

In recent days, an emergency appeal went out to donors for blood and platelet donations in response to what American Red Cross officials are calling a severe winter blood shortage in the Ohio Valley.

What’s happening is blood products already donated are going out faster than donations are coming in, and there are many reasons for that, officials said. For example, nearly 100 blood drives were canceled in November and December due to bad weather conditions. Weather issues coupled with holiday travel resulted in 37,000 fewer blood donations in the past two months.

That means only emergency situations requiring blood are being attended to, in most cases, while elective surgeries have been put on hold.

The donation process is simple — all you have to do is complete a questionnaire and pass a simple health check. The skilled professionals who take the donations make giving blood quick, painless and effortless on the part of the donor. And blood can be donated every 56 days by eligible donors who are at least 17 years old, who weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health.

Red Cross officials are hoping to collect several hundred units of usable blood during Monday’s Media Day Blood Drive. As a thank-you for your donation, presenting donors will receive a T-shirt, free refreshments, free parking and babysitting, if needed.

To make an appointment for Media Day, call (800) 733-2767 or go online at redcrossblood.org/Rapid Pass and enter sponsor code mediaday. Walk-ins are also welcome.

It’s a chance to invest a little bit of your time to help others.

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