12/09/07 — Banks get set for annual blood donation challenge

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Banks get set for annual blood donation challenge

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 9, 2007 2:00 AM

Bankers will step out of their vaults Dec. 18 and roll up their sleeves to give blood.

The 4th annual Bank Challenge blood drive will take place from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Chapter, 600 N. George St. This year's theme is "Invest in Life."

The Bank Challenge is a "friendly" competition among Goldsboro's banks and financial institutions, explained Samia Gardner, blood services director.

"It's always an exciting time," she said. "People will come in and say 'so and so sent me; be sure you put down my bank.'"

Heading up this year's drive is Marian Everhart, mortgage loan originator with KS Bank. "Each bank is participating by sending its employees and customers," she said.

All donors will receive a special Bank Challenge T-shirt. There will also be refreshments at the blood drive.

Six local banks are sponsoring the event -- KS, Wachovia, the little bank, The Heritage Bank, First Citizens and New Century.

The bank collecting the most units of blood receives a traveling award. Last year, they totaled 43 units of blood against a goal of 30.

Ms. Everhart said there has already been a friendly challenge between KS and Wachovia banks. Wachovia won the award last year and is determined to take it home again this year.

KS Bank came in second last year. "As soon as I walked into Wachovia with posters about the blood drive, she said 'you know, we won last year,'" Ms. Everhart said.

Mrs. Gardner said it's "just such a fun way to collect blood during such a difficult collection time. It's such a wonderful thing to see the banks and savings and loan companies of this area get involved in the community. It's a good way for them to give back to their community."

Ms. Everhart said this year's goal is 40. "But we're shooting for even higher than that."

Even if the Bank Challenge blood drive collects only 43 units of blood, that has the potential to save 129 lives because each unit could save up to three lives.

"And it's not just those three lives," Mrs. Gardner said. "It's the families of those patients. It touches so many lives."

She also said that the drive couldn't come at a better time. The holidays are a time when people are busy shopping and decorating and just don't think about taking the time to give blood.

It's also a time when more people are out on the roads and more accidents happen, making it crucial that hospitals have blood on hand.

Mrs. Gardner said it takes just a little over an hour to give blood. Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.