12/13/10 — Banks join forces to collect blood for Red Cross

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Banks join forces to collect blood for Red Cross

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 13, 2010 1:46 PM

Financial institutions in Wayne County are joining together this holiday season to give the "gift of life."

The seventh annual Bank Challenge will collect blood for the Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross Tuesday, Dec. 21, from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at the chapter house, 600 N. George St. This year's goal is 30 units.

Bank Challenge chairman Kate Daniels explained that the event is a time for financial institutions in the county to "come together for a common cause of helping out our neighbors." The marketing manager with the North Carolina Community Credit Union is also a Red Cross board member.

"You never know when you're going to need blood," she said. "None of us goes to bed at night thinking that we're going to be in a terrible accident the next morning. None of us goes to bed at night thinking that a neighbor's house is going to catch on fire or that a co-worker's child is going to become sick with a disease where they're going to need blood."

But the Red Cross does, and that's where the Bank Challenge comes in. To help the Red Cross be prepared for such tragedies, not only will financial institution's employees roll up their sleeves and donate blood Dec. 21, but they are also asking their customers to join with them and give blood, too.

While the Bank Challenge is a way to help the community, it's also a little friendly competition among the financial institutions, Mrs. Daniels said.

For the past few years, KS Bank, under the leadership of Geoff Kokiko has won bragging rights, having the most donors at the Bank Challenge.

"They do a great job of rallying not only their employees, but their customers," Mrs. Daniels said. She hopes one of the other financial institutions will give KS Bank a run for its money this year at the blood drive.

The process is simple: Donors can make an appointment online for that day and then just show up to give blood. When they arrive, they will be asked which financial institution they are with. From the start of the paper work through the mini physical until the end of the blood collection itself, the entire process takes only about an hour and 15 minutes, Mrs. Daniels said.

"And whoever has the most turnout that day gets bragging rights for the year and a trophy," she said. "It's just a friendly, friendly competition."

Mrs. Daniels noted that although there's always a need for blood, that need increases around Christmas time.

"We all get so, so busy," she said. "But we really need people to come out."

Mrs. Daniels also said that donating blood may be a little intimidating for a first-time donor.

"I am 28, and I donated for the first time two years ago," she said. "I was terrified to do it. But now that I've done it, it's like my mission to tell people who are able to give blood to give."

Mrs. Daniels said a person gives just a pint of blood, but that one pint has the potential to help three people. "The average adult has 10 to 12 pints of blood," she said. "And your body replaces all the fluid that you donate within 24 hours."

More blood donors are needed. Mrs. Daniels said that only three out of every 100 people who are able to donate blood do donate. "And the scary part about that is that 92 percent of us are going to have a blood need in our lives. When you look at it like that, it's one of those if you are able to donate, please donate."

She said blood can't be manufactured and bought anywhere. And it doesn't cost a thing to give blood.

"The gift is free, and it's priceless," Mrs. Daniels said. "Times are really, really tough. And if you can't find the perfect gift for somebody in your life, or if you can't afford it, go give blood in their name. They can write a little note to that person and we'll send it to them."

She said the Red Cross collects blood every day of the year, but Christmas.

Red Cross executive director Chuck Waller said the Bank Challenge blood drive will "serve as a reminder that blood needs know no season, and that blood needs do not take a vacation during the holidays.

"We encourage all of Wayne County to come out and represent their bank and, more importantly, give the gift of life this holiday season."

All donors will receive a coupon for a free Andy's cheeseburger and a free American Red Cross T-shirt.