The door opened at 11 a.m., and all day, people flocked into Wesbanco Arena to give blood.
Red Cross officials say there are critical shortages especially in some blood types following the recent snow, ice and bitter cold weather.
“The severe weather has impacted our blood supply this year,” noted Sharon Kesselring of the American Red Cross. “Since December 1, it has caused the cancelation of more than 500 blood drives. And that includes the loss of more than 13,000 blood donations.”
“I think it’s important with all the catastrophes around that people give blood to those who need it, and I’m here to give it,” said Paul Andreozzi of Steubenville.
This year’s event was dedicated to the late Jean Paul, a devoted Red Cross volunteer for 55 years.
They called her the cookie lady.
So this year’s T-shirts said “Give Blood. Eat Cookies. Everybody Wins.”
“She was very happy to be of service to the Red Cross,” said Mark Paul, Jean’s son. “You had to have the cookies and the orange juice.”
“She even worked to help the servicemen overseas when they needed to come home for medical leave and things,” said Adam Paul, Jean’s grandson. “She volunteered for that too. She was always talking about the Red Cross.”
“She didn’t miss a drive,” said Worthy Paul, Jean’s son. “They would sometimes schedule a couple drives a month. She’d make all of them. It bothered her if she didn’t get here on time. She really enjoyed being the cookie lady. That gave her a lot of pleasure.”
This year, all donations were needed, some more desperately than others.
“We are in an urgent appeal right now for all blood types,” noted Kesselring. “But if you’re O negative or B Negative, we have a critical appeal for yours.”