01/15/13 — City vs. County blood drive Thursday

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City vs. County blood drive Thursday

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on January 15, 2013 1:46 PM

County and city employees are ready to do battle Thursday, and it's expected to be a bloody affair.

But there will be no fisticuffs.

The local government employees will be competing to see who can raise the most blood during a blood drive held at two locations -- the Red Cross chapter house at 600 N. George St. and the city public works complex at 1601 Clingman St.

The drive will run from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

Having the drives on the same day at the same time makes it a true competition, said Kimberly Berrier, Red Cross senior donor recruitment representative.

Ms. Berrier said other counties have drives like this one that are very successful.

She noted that Asheville has had a county versus city blood drive for more than 13 years, and it was so successful that the city also started a battle of the badges competition between firefighters and police.

The winner of the competition gets bragging rights.

"We will declare the winner on the number of people who are actually present to give blood," Ms. Berrier said. "Not everybody is eligible to give once they get to a blood drive. They might be on antibiotics. Or we might have some folks who can't donate because they've traveled somewhere and restrictions apply. So those folks can recruit a donor to come in their place."

Ms. Berrier said the Red Cross hopes to have at least 80 donors between the two blood drives.

She's seen the competition heating up as the drive draws near.

County coordinator Wayne Alley said it's been talked up to county employees, has been mentioned on TV and has been put in the county newsletter.

"We're trying to generate some excitement," Alley said. "There's always the talk. You got to talk the talk and challenge the city employees a little bit every once in a while -- just a friendly jab once in a while."

Alley is a big supporter of the Red Cross and the county versus city blood drive.

"The Red Cross does so much for our community helping people and saving lives," he said. "One unit of blood can do so much good in the community. We hope this drive challenges someone who may have never given blood before to give, and once they've given, they'll want to do it again."

Alley said the county employees are looking forward to the challenge.

"We're looking forward to going toe-to-toe, or actually elbow to elbow, with the city," he said. "We know we're going to win. It's inevitable. We have more blood in the county than they do in the city."

City coordinator Cindy Stallard said there can be fun with competition.

"It would be awesome if there was some kind of a counter in place at each donation site that would have the two teams and a changing number every time that is a successful donation," she said. "Now that would be competitive."

Ms. Berrier said this is a good time of year to have such a competition, because blood supplies usually dwindle after the first of the year.

"And blood is a perishable product; it lives for only 42 days," she said. "So we have to constantly collect blood to replenish the supply. We're OK right now, but who knows, in another week inventory could take a huge turn and not be OK. We like to be prepared."

All donors will receive coupons for a free Adams car wash and a free cheeseburger at Hwy 55. And they will be entered into a drawing for a $1,000 gift card to a home improvement store.

The Red Cross is making it easy for county and city employees to sign up for the blood drives by going online.