The Central Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross is counting on Pickerington-area residents to step up to the plate to help save lives by donating blood from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Pickerington Public Library, 201 Opportunity Way, in meeting rooms A and B.
Red Cross Communication Program Manager Rodney Wilson said every blood drive is important and serves to secure much-needed blood for area hospitals.
The Red Cross provides donated blood to 42 area hospitals throughout central Ohio, which is all the hospitals around Columbus and 27 counties.
"The average daily usage of blood is 800 pints every single day, that's why every blood drive is important," Wilson said.
"Every blood drive is vital to patient care (because) hospitals are waiting on that blood to be available so they can treat their patients," he said.
Potential blood donors have an added incentive for participating in the Pickerington Blood Drive on October 20 in that they will qualify for the chance to win a pair of Ohio State football tickets to the next home game as well as enter into a drawing for the grand prize: a pair of Ohio State-Michigan tickets.
Wilson said entering the contest for the next home game tickets will automatically qualify one for the drawing for the Michigan game tickets as well.
"Some blood drives have gifts for donors, not all of them," Wilson said. "We have a limited number of gifts, so we try to use them where they make the most sense," he said.
Wilson wants potential donors to be cognizant of the fact that most people know other people whose lives have been transformed by donated blood.
"Statistics show 97 percent of Americans know someone who is alive because they received blood, so if you think about who in your life that might be, you realize how important it is to donate," Wilson said.
He said blood is a scarce commodity with a short shelf-life, thus the continuous need to keep having blood drives.
"Typically, there's never enough people donating blood," Wilson said.
"Blood has a shelf-life of 40 days, so we have to collect enough to meet the need right now," he said.
"It's always a struggle because the need for blood is constant," Wilson said.
"People always aren't available to donate so we're spreading the word on why it's important to give."
According to the American Red Cross, the process in which to give blood takes about an hour from start to finish, although the actual donation itself takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Donors are advised to drink plenty of fluids on the day of the donation and to wear comfortable clothing to the blood drive.
Donors should also bring a list of any medications they are taking as well as a valid ID.
The Red Cross encourages donors to make an appointment in advance, however, it is not mandatory.
After the donation, donors are expected to stay for a 10- to 15-minute observation period whereupon refreshments will be served.
To get more information about the blood drive or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or go to redcrossblood.org.