Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley has a critical need for blood donors


Red Cross in dire need of blood donors

By GRAIG GRAZIOSI

ggraziosi@vindy.com

POLAND

As the holiday season comes to an end, one organization is still in dire need of holiday generosity.

The American Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley has a critical need for blood donors after donations slowed during the holidays.

Christina Gargas, the local account manager for the Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley, said the decrease in blood donations during the holiday season is not uncommon.

“During the holidays we see the hustle and bustle; people are busy or they’re planning for time off and traveling, and they just don’t make it in to donate,” Gargas said.

Along with the busy that comes with the holidays, the winter season offers its own hurdles for those considering giving blood.

Inclement weather conditions and seasonal illnesses also contribute to the annual decline in donors participating in Red Cross blood drives.

Christy Peters, communications manager for ARC Mahoning Valley, said the organization attempts to combat the slowdown by increasing its outreach to regular donors around the holiday season and by offering incentives to attract new participants.

“Over the holidays we have more event drives where we offer more incentives,” Peters said. “During our normal blood drives, we try to keep extended hours to give people a broader opportunity to come out and donate.”

According to the Red Cross’s statistics, the organization provided nearly 7 million blood products to as many as 2,600 hospitals across the country during 2016.

Nurses from the Red Cross were at the Poland Library on Friday for the fourth blood drive in the Mahoning Valley in the past two weeks.

Trisha Guth-Bronson, a donor recruitment representative at the Red Cross, was at the library drive, having her blood drawn alongside a pair of local donors.

Guth-Bronson said that nearly 20 people had already given blood during the Friday drive, and hoped another 10 or 12 would donate before the end of the day.

While Guth-Bronson was giving blood, Toni Sampsel, a 14-year veteran with the Red Cross and the charge nurse at the blood drive, had just finished receiving some from a donor.

Sampsel said that while the number of blood donors decreases during the holidays, those in need of the blood do not.

“There’s a girl at Akron Children’s Hospital who just celebrated her 8th birthday, and she needs blood and platelets every single day,” Sampsel said. “She’s the person people are helping when they make the time to give blood. It’s a good cause, and it’s guaranteed to help someone.”

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