BARNESVILLEOhio — After a two-year slump due to the pandemic, the annual Barnesville Blood Bash is coming back to Barnesville High School on Friday, May 6 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in partnership with Vitalant (formerly Central Blood Bank).

The blood drive is planned and executed by students and has become an important part of the community fabric as well as an opportunity for the kids to develop leadership skills. Each student is encouraged to recruit at least two people to donate blood. Over the years, blood donors at this event have helped save the lives of about 40,000 hospital patients, which is 10 times the population of Barnesville.

COVID-19 shut down the blood drive in 2020, and in 2021 the event was scaled down to allow for social distancing. High school principal Ron Clark hopes the Blood Bash will bring in more than 500 people to donate blood. “We still have openings available,” he said. “We encourage healthy members of the community to make an appointment to give blood and help make the event as successful it has been over the years.”

Appointments are encouraged and can be made at online or by calling Rachel at 412-736-5506.

Every participating blood donor will receive a $10 gift card, redeemable by email. In addition, blood donors can find out their COVID-19 antibody status, because Vitalant is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies to produce plasma that could help COVID-19 patients with weakened immune systems.

Vitalant supplies blood to Barnesville Hospital, Harrison Community Hospital, and other WVU Medicine facilities.

Anyone who meets all eligibility requirements can donate blood regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. People who have recovered from COVID-19 are eligible to donate blood after a brief waiting period. Masks are optional for staff, donors and visitors at the Barnesville Blood Bash.

The need for blood is ongoing. Blood needs to be at the hospital not just for emergencies, but also for elective surgeries and planned treatments. One car accident victim may need 100 units of blood. Type O blood is the most transfused blood type and O-negative is what emergency room personnel reach for when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. Platelets are also constantly needed to help cancer patients, people with blood disorders, open-heart surgeries, and organ transplants.