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W. Va. uses giveaways to attract donations

December 16, 2000

W. Va. uses giveaways to attract donations



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Red Cross officials in West Virginia are turning to Beanie Baby raffles and T-shirt giveaways in an attempt to attract more donors to shore up lagging blood supplies.

The Red Cross prefers to have at least a three-day supply of all types of blood for emergencies and daily usage, said Tina Stover, donor resources field representative for the Red Cross office in Winchester, Va.

This week in the Allegheny region, which includes the Eastern Panhandle, there was a 1 1/2 -day supply of O-positive and A-positive blood and less than a day's supply of O-negative, A-negative and B-negative, Stover said.

To generate interest in blood donations, the Red Cross will conduct promotions at bloodmobile sites in the coming days, Stover said.

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Monday at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, anyone who donates blood at a bloodmobile between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. will be eligible for a drawing of a Beanie Baby resembling a Red Cross bear, Stover said.

Drawings for T-shirts will be held every hour, Stover said.

On Dec. 22 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Martinsburg, T-shirts will be given to all donors, Stover said. The church is at 200 W. King St.

A bloodmobile scheduled for Dec. 20 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Baker Heights is also offering promotions.

"This is a very hard time for us so we try to do something creative to bring people in the door," Stover said.

Blood shortages typically occur between mid-November and mid-January because people are busier during the holiday season and do not have as much time to donate, Stover said.

This year has been especially tough, Stover said. Blood supplies were low in the summer, too, and the Red Cross has had difficulty getting supplies up to a normal level, Stover said.

Other factors are contributing to the shortage, such as a new iron test donors are required to take, said Vicque Charrette, a spokeswoman for City Hospital in Martinsburg.

Many women have not been able to pass the iron test, and the hospital has been advising them to eat raisins to bring their iron levels up, Charrette said.

In some cases, City Hospital has only been able to get about 50 percent of the blood it orders from the Red Cross because of the shortage, Charrette said. That can create a tough situation for the hospital if it receives patients from a string of bad car accidents or other traumatic accidents, Charrette said.

"Everybody is just pleading for people to come out and give," Charrette said.

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